of the Pumpkin
domestication of pumpkins began with the native populations
of the Americas. However, the earliest varieties of squash and
pumpkins were actually considered more valuable for their edible
seeds than for their flesh.
into the history of the use of pumpkins reveals that cultivation
began in South America and the seeds eventually made their way
to native populations in North America. With the arrival of
Europeans to the Americas, pumpkins were quickly adopted by
these newcomers. Through the early settlers, pumpkins seeds
were eventually sent to Europe.
quickly found their way into the culture and folklore of the
United States, with images of pumpkins appearing in the famous
story by Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
One of the earliest traditional culinary uses of the pumpkin
by the settlers was to bake a hollowed out pumpkin with other
fruits, spices, and milk.
While the pumpkin is most often associated with the Jack O’Lantern,
the first Jack O’Lanterns were not pumpkins. Strangely,
the original was a turnip and the idea comes from an old Irish
folktale. See this great site from the University of Illinois
for a history
of the Jack O’Lantern.
2005 Pumpkin Growing Tips. All Rights Reserved.
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