Food facts, Pumpkins

Pumpkin Nutrition, Selection, Storage and Availability Pumpkins are rich in anti-oxidants, beta-carotene, and may protect against vision loss, heart disease, and cancer.  Pumpkins also contain healthy amounts of fiber, potassium, Vitamins C & E and iron.  Most pumpkins are used for décor (jack-O-lanterns) while some are used for pie, soups, and breads.  Pumpkins used for décor are typically medium to large in size with a large seed cavity, thin walls, and a hard rind.  Pie pumpkins are typically smaller and sweeter with more flesh.  Pumpkins are ripe when they turn orange in color and the rind is hard.  The stem on the pumpkin should be at least 1-2 inches in length to prevent quick decay.  Pumpkins can be stored for several weeks if kept in a cool dry place. Pumpkins are typically available in Wisconsin between late September through October.

Pumpkin Extras The pumpkin has a cultural tie to the fall season, and more specifically to Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Although it originated in Central America, the pumpkin got its name from the Greek word for "large melon", which is "pepon." From there, several cultures altered the word until American settlers referred to the “pumpkin” as we know it today.

Information from the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.