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22 October 2017 - It’s ‘Punkin’ Time!

I have decided not to make anyone angry this week (I hope). With Halloween approaching it’s ‘Punkie’ time, as we used to call it when we were kids. But so I don’t offend spelling teachers I will call it Pumpkin Time at Halloween as I share with you “pumpkin facts” for dinner conversation with your kids.

Pumpkins were discovered in Central America; they moved North and by the time our settlers arrived in the colonies, they found the entire plant was useable. Pumpkins contain Potassium and Vitamin A and the seeds can be roasted as a snack. Pumpkin flowers are edible. Pumpkins can be used as animal feed and the flesh can be used to make soups, pies and breads. Pumpkins are a fruit and are 90% water.

In Colonial times, colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pies . . . surprisingly, Pumpkin Pie is not America’s favorite pie.

In early times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for pie crust, not as the filling. Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

Over 1.5-billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year in the United States, with 95% of the crop grown in Illinois. The city of Morton, Illinois calls itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World,” where 80% of the world’s canned pumpkins are processed.

More pumpkin history. . .The original Jack-O-Lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish who brought their local customs to America. They quickly learned that carving a pumpkin was much easier. Pumpkins are grown on every Continent . . . except Antarctica.

So, enjoy your Jack-O-Lantern, your ‘Punkin’ pie and trick-or -treating with your kids and grand-kids. I hope you enjoyed learning more about ‘punkins’.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.