Fall is upon us! And that means Halloween is right around the corner. If you’re like me, you wait until at least mid-October to carve your pumpkin, just to make sure it lasts through October 31st. But there are ways you can ensure your Jack-O-Lantern lasts longer, and we’ve put together a list. But first, some pumpkin-spiced history.
Did you know that pumpkins are almost 10,000 years old? And we thought tortoises hung around a while! According to the University of California, scientists have found pumpkin seeds in Mexico that date back as far as 7000 B.C. The word “pumpkin” originates from the Greek word “peopon” which means “large melon”. 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced every year in the United States, 80% of which is harvested just for the month of October. There are more varieties of pumpkin than you might think. 45, to be exact. And although orange is the most common color, you can also find them in green, yellow and red. And because pumpkins are winter squashes, they are technically a fruit, like cucumbers. They are highly nutritious and an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin A and beta-carotene. And here’s something you may not have known. The entire pumpkin is edible. Even the stem and leaves.
But my favorite piece of pumpkin trivia is how the Jack-O-Lantern came to be. Immigrants brought the tradition over from Ireland. There, they carved potatoes and turnips, but switched to pumpkins in America because they were easier to carve. The Jack-O-Lantern name came from an unruly chap called Stingy Jack, who was a thing of legend in Ireland, famous for playing tricks on people.
So now that you’ve been pumpkinformed (yep, that happened), how do you keep your pumpkin fresher longer for the fall season? Here’s a list of things that can help extend the life of your winter squash masterpiece. So you can get to carving sooner!
–Wendy Rush, 96.3KKLZ Las Vegas