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Pumpkin History

Native Americans wove mats out of dried pumpkin strips

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Pumpkins

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge

Pumpkin History

The word pumpkin comes from the Greek pepõn for a large melon. The English termed it pumpion or pompion. This term dates back to 1547, yet it did not make an appearance in print until 1647.

The pumpkin was one of the many foods used by the Native American Indians in the new world and was a welcome discovery by the Pilgrims. The Indians pounded strips of pumpkin flat, dried them, and wove them into mats for trading. They also dried pumpkin for food.

The new Americans heartily embraced the sweet, multi-purpose fruit which became a traditional Thanksgiving food. The colonists used pumpkin not only as a side dish and dessert, but also in soups and even made beer of it.

Pumpkins are popular at Halloween when they are carved into Jack-o'-lanterns. The practice was brought to the United States by Irish immigrants who originally carved turnips into Jack-o'-lanterns. In America, pumpkins were more plentiful and cheaper than turnips, and so came about the switch from turnips to pumpkins.

The pumpkin blossoms can also be used as those of the squash family, such as batter-dipped and fried squash blossoms.

More About Pumpkins

Pumpkin Storage and Selection
Pumpkin Cooking Tips
Pumpkin Equivalents, Measures, and Substitutions
Pumpkin Carving Tips
Pumpkin History
Pumpkins and Health
Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkin Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cookbooks

The Perfect Pumpkin
Pumpkin, Butternut & Squash
Pumpkin Companion
The Pumpkin Cookbook
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