The pumpkin, along with other squashes, is native to the Americas. The stem, seeds, and parts of the fruit of the pumpkin have been found in the ruins of the ancient cliff dwellings in the southwestern part of the United States. Other discoveries in these ruins indicate that the pumpkin may even have been grown by the "basket makers," whose civilization precedes that of the cliff dwellers, and who were probably the first agriculturists in North America.
Present varieties of pumpkin have been traced back to the days of Indian tribes. One variety, the Cushaw, was being grown by the Indians in 1586.
Botanically, a pumpkin is a squash. The popular term pumpkin has become a symbol, or tradition, at Halloween and Thanksgiving. This tradition dates as far back as the first colonial settlers.
Pumpkin can be served as a boiled or baked vegetable and as a filling for pies or in custards. It also makes a good ingredient for cornbread.
Pumpkins are grown throughout the United States and are used mostly in or near the producing area. They are classed as stock feed and pie types, some serving both purposes. The principal producers are Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Iowa, and California. They may be found in stores from late August to March, the peak months being October through December.
Pumpkins of quality should be heavy for their size and free of blemishes, with a hard rind. Watch for decay if the flesh has been bruised or otherwise injured. Decay may appear as a water-soaked area, sometimes covered with a dark, mold-like growth.
Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are very high in potassium and sodium and have a moderately low carbohydrate content. They are alkaline in reaction and are a fair source of vitamins B and C. Pumpkins are good in soft diets.
Pumpkin can be used in pudding or it can be liquefied. One of the best ways to serve pumpkin is to bake it. Pumpkin seeds and onions mixed together with a little soy milk make a great remedy for parasitic worms in the digestive tract. To make this remedy, liquefy three tablespoons of pumpkin seeds that have been soaked three hours, one-half of a small onion, one-half cup soy milk, and one teaspoon honey. Take this amount three times daily, three days in a row.
Nutrients in one pound (without rind and seeds)
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