The Pumpkin - Fruit of Autumn

By Justin Powell

Each year, cooling temperatures and brightly colored leaves mark the arrival of autumn. The fall can be a great time for the family to enjoy the outdoors together, whether hiking under the fall foliage or enjoying a corn maze at a local farm.

With it's orange coloring resembling that of the turning leaves and its association with Halloween, the pumpkin has become a symbol of the autumn season. This autumn, why not spend a few minutes with the kids to learn a little more about this orange fruit of autumn?

Fun Facts About Pumpkins:

  • Pumpkins are fruit and are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes squash, melons and cucumbers.
  • Pumpkins grown on long, flowering vines that cover the ground.
  • Pumpkins consist of about 90 percent water.
  • Pumpkins are very healthy fruits to eat. They are low in fat, calories and sodium, while being high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin A.
  • Pumpkin seeds are edible and often roasted. Pumpkin flowers are also edible.
  • The Guinness world record for the largest pumpkin is 1,810 1/2 pounds.
  • Wild pumpkins were believed to have originated in Central America. Early explorers discovered Native Americans growing them and took seeds back to Europe. Now, pumpkins grow on every continent, except Antarctica.
  • The idea of pumpkin carving originated in Ireland as part of the All Hallow's Eve celebration. The Irish carved vegetables, such as rutabagas and turnips. When European immigrants came to North America, this tradition evolved into pumpkin carving since pumpkins were larger and readily available.

Visiting a nearby pumpkin farm this autumn is a fun way to get your family outside. You can enjoy an afternoon in the crisp air, have some apple cider and pick the perfect pumpkin to take home. The fact that your family went to farm to pick it will create a more personal connection to your pumpkin and help reinforce everything your kids learned from the experience. But, most importantly, enjoy a day outdoors together.

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Related Article: Fall Activities for Families