What am I?
From decoration to pies, I'm a popular fruit. Yes, fruit! I'm not a vegetable. More than 1.5 billion pounds of me are grown in the U.S. every year, usually for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Can you guess what I am?
Where I grow
I grow on a vine on the ground. My vine can stretch out a long ways. Most of my fruit is small, but I can be grown to be VERY large! The largest fruit was 2,749 pounds set by Travis Gienger from Anoka, Minnesota in October 2023!
After I'm picked
I'm known for my bright appearance on Halloween, but I'm so much more than that! After I'm picked, I should be put in a dark, cool place. I'm most commonly baked in pies and sweet treats. My seeds can be cooked for a crunchy snack, too!
Did you guess... Pumpkin
You're right! Pumpkins are just as fun to eat as they are to carve!
Watch the video to see Snackster Sam correspondents try pumpkin seeds!
More Pumpkin Facts
A pumpkin is a gourd. They are usually orange, but they can also be white. Pumpkins are spheres or stretched-out spheres.
People can eat pumpkins. Often people make pumpkins into pies. People can eat and cook pumpkin seeds. People also use pumpkins for decoration, for example when people make jack-o-lanterns at Halloween.
It also has a few noted medicinal use, which are traditionally used in India.
In New Zealand and Australian English, the term pumpkin generally refers to the broader category called winter squash elsewhere.
As one of the most popular crops in the United States, in 2017 over 680,000,000 kilograms (1.5 billion pounds) of pumpkins were produced. The top pumpkin-producing states include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 95% of the U.S. crop intended for processing is grown in Illinois. Nestlé, operating under the brand name Libby's, produces 85% of the processed pumpkin in the United States, at their plant in Morton, Illinois. In the fall of 2009, rain in Illinois devastated the Nestlé crop, which combined with a relatively weak 2008 crop depleting that year's reserves resulted in a shortage affecting the entire country during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Another shortage, somewhat less severe, affected the 2015 crop. The pumpkin crop grown in the western United States, which constitutes approximately 3-4% of the national crop, is primarily for the organic market.
Pumpkins are a warm-weather crop that is usually planted in early July. The specific conditions necessary for growing pumpkins require that soil temperatures 8 centimetres (3 in) deep are at least 15.5 °C (60 °F) and that the soil holds water well. Pumpkin crops may suffer if there is a lack of water or because of cold temperatures (in this case, below 18 °C or 65 °F; frost can be detrimental), and sandy soil with poor water retention or poorly drained soils that become waterlogged after heavy rain. Pumpkins are, however, rather hardy, and even if many leaves and portions of the vine are removed or damaged, the plant can very quickly re-grow secondary vines to replace what was removed.
Pumpkins produce both a male and female flower; they must be fertilized, usually by bees. Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably at least in part to pesticide (imidacloprid) sensitivity. Ground-based bees such as squash bees and the eastern bumblebee are better suited to handle the larger pollen particles that pumpkins create, but today most commercial plantings are pollinated by hives of honeybees, which also allows the production and sale of honey that the bees produce from the pumpkin pollen. One hive per acre (4,000 m2 per hive, or 5 hives per 2 hectares) is recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If there are inadequate bees for pollination, gardeners often have to hand pollinate. Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development.
Giant pumpkins at a "heaviest pumpkin" competition. "Giant pumpkins" are a large squash (within the group of common squash Cucurbita maxima) that can exceed 2,000 pounds in weight. The variety arose from the large squash of South America through the efforts of botanical societies and enthusiast farmers.
Source: Pumpkin Facts for Kids . Kiddle Encyclopedia.
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