Map of the Week: Pumpkin Production by State, 2012

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It is almost Halloween, which means that many American homes will be decorated with pumpkins, and many families will have pumpkin pies and so forth. Pumpkins are traditionally a symbol of the annual Halloween celebration. Here are some facts about this cultivated Native American squash:

  • Pumpkins are usually orange but can sometimes be yellow, white, green or red.
  • The name pumpkin comes from the Greek word πέπων [pepon] , meaning ‘large melon’.
  • Pumpkins have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds.
  • Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables.
  • Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball).
  • They vary in weight but an average sized pumpkin might weigh around 13 pounds (6 kilograms).
  • Giant pumpkins can be grown for competitions, with some weighing over 1000 pounds! (450 kilograms). In 2010, the world record was 1810 pounds! That’s huge!!
  • Pumpkin plants feature both male and female flowers, with bees typically being involved in pollination (the transfer of pollen).
  • Over 1 billion pounds (450 million kgs) of pumpkin are produced in the US every year.
  • As a food, pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled.
  • Pumpkin soup is popular, as are roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert that originates in North America and is traditionally eaten during harvest time and holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Pumpkins are popular decorations during Halloween. A carved pumpkin illuminated by candles is known as a ‘jack-o-lantern’. The tradition is believed to have come from Ireland, where they used to carve faces into turnips, beet and other root vegetables as part of the Gaelic festival of Samhain.
  • 100 grams of pumpkin produces around 26 calories of energy.

In honor of this Halloween, the American Geographical Society made a map of pumpkin cultivated area per state, based on the Agricultural Census Data (2012).


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