1. The largest pumpkin ever grown was over a ton in weight!
That's right! An Italian man named Stefano Cutrupi grew a pumpkin in 2021 that was 2,702 pounds. To put that into perspective, the pumpkins you get at the grocery store or the pumpkin patch are generally 5-10 pounds.
2. Pumpkins were not used for the original jack o'lanterns
We all love carving pumpkins into jack o'lanterns -- it's easy to pop off the top, scoop out the guts, and create a funny or scary face in the thick shell. But back in the olden days, jack o'lanterns were made from turnips or potatoes. They were made in Ireland to keep away the spirit of a ghoul named, you guessed it, Jack. When Irish immigrants came to America, they found the pumpkin was much easier to carve.
3. Americans prefer pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving
If you consider your Thanksgiving table incomplete without a pumpkin pie, you're not alone. 36% of Americans say that it's their favorite, beating out apple, pecan, and sweet potato.
4. Pumpkin is a treat you and your furry friend can both enjoy!
Yes, dogs love pumpkin, and it's good for them, too. It helps aid in digestion and can help if Fido has an upset tummy. Cats can also benefit from the many nutrients in pumpkin. Just be sure to talk to your vet about how much to give your pet based on breed, age, and size -- and only give them plain pumpkin!
5. Most of the pumpkins grown in the USA come from Illinois
Now, Maryland produces its fair share of pumpkins, but we can't hold a jack o'lantern candle to Illinois! That state produces more than 500 million pounds of pumpkin, and they're also the ones canning a lot of it up. So if you're not using local produce in your pumpkin pie, you can probably thank Illinois.
6. A pumpkin contains about 500 seeds
And if you're smart, you won't let them go to waste! Pumpkin seeds are a delicious treat that you can easily roast at home with salt, spices (Old Bay, perhaps) and oil. Here's a step-by-step guide if you want to try it yourself.