Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AgBCs: P is for Pumpkin

Did you know the pumpkin actually originated in Mexico over 9,000 years ago? American Indian tribes grew pumpkins long before any European explorers arrived in the Americas. Columbus actually carried pumpkin seeds on his return trip to Europe, but the resulting melons weren't used to feed people—they were used to feed pigs!

Pumpkins come in many varieties—including this yogurt pumpkin!

Even the early New England settlers were not big fans of using pumpkins for food—until the first long, cold winter set in and food became very scarce. Then they changed their minds in a hurry! One common cooking method wa to let the fire die down and place a whole pumpkin in the ashes. Once it was baked soft, she pumpkin was cut open and honey or maple syrup (along with some animal fat) was poured on top.

Pilgrims often cooked their pumpkins whole! You can learn how here...
The early settlers also made pumpkin pies, but they looked nothing like the pumpkin pies of today! They simply cut off the pumpkin top and scared out the seed. Then they placed apples, sugar, spices and milk inside. Finally, they put the top back on the pumpkin and baked it in the fire's ashes.

So have fun trying out some of the early recipes the Pilgrims used to cook their pumpkins, or here are some other fun ideas to try:

Pumpkin, Pumpkin: What Comes Next?
See what happens this fall after Halloween is over!

Halloween is over, so now what?
Check out these great reads on the life cycle of a pumpkin!

Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Now THAT would be a great pumpkin!
Ever wonder what would happen if there really were flying pumpkins? Get Twig's take on this unlikely phenomenon...

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