Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014


'The Unapologetic Pumpkin'

10 facts about pumpkins you may not have known

Submitted by Brunella Battista,


The Farm House in Agassiz has a variety of delicious squash. Below, Wisbey Vegetables adds to the bevy of local squash available to shoppers.


ctober is the perfect time to enjoy the sight of colorful pumpkins in your own community:  during this month local farms welcome the public to their seasonal pumpkin patch. From decorative gourds with prickly skin to the gigantic squashes, there is an incredible array of colors, shapes and flavors to be enjoyed.


I took a tour of some of the stands that offer Jack-o-Lantern supplies and edible squashes with a visiting friend and I began to wonder about all things pumpkin. While I sifted through pages and pages of information, here are 10 of the most interesting facts I discovered:


1) There are over 100 different varieties of heirloom pumpkins. They are part of the Cucurbit family (which includes cucumbers). Most are cucurbit pepo, while the extremely large ones are cucurbit maxima.


2) The oldest seeds (from 7000/ 5000 BC) were found in Mexico.


3) The crooked neck variety was one of the first to be grown and originated in the Americas (North America and Mexico).


4) Native Americans grew, dried and roasted pumpkins long before the settlers brought this staple food back to Europe.


5) The Jack-o-Lantern stems from an Irish myth and was originally carved in turnips, potatoes and beets.


6) Pumpkins contain phytochemical compounds that regulate blood sugar. Cats and dogs benefit from pureed pumpkin when they have stomach problems or need a lower calories diet.


7) The word pumpkin has been used to indicate something or someone from awesome to stupid in a variety of languages, including English, Italian, French and German.


8) The largest selection of odd usage for the word pumpkin is found in the Urban Dictionary. Check it out, but it’s not for the faint of heart.


9) In Brazil, gauchos drank yerba mate (tea) in cured gourds and in southeastern South America the native Guarani used a straw in the gourd.  Yerba mate gourds can be bought online and are often beautifully decorated.


10) Pumpkins can be made into more than 50 recipes, including pastas, risottos, buns, soups, dips, chili and layered baked dishes not just pies.


What I appreciate most about pumpkins and gourds are the colors and the subtle details, the more contorted and uneven the better. They are a great reminder that by accepting imperfection we get a glimpse of true and unapologetic beauty. I will use this as my motto for the winter look: weight gain, pasty skin and all…



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