Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere – Facts, Fun and Uses

PumpkinsPumpkins of all shapes and sizes are in stores, decorating our outdoors, and being carved by children of all ages during the fall months. There are pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! What are pumpkins and why are they superfoods, not just activities and decorations?

Pumpkins Are a Type of Fruit

Definitely one of the more surprising facts about pumpkins is that they are fruit, not vegetables. Many people consider pumpkins to be a vegetable, along with squash and other gourds, but it is in fact a fruit. Fruits are typically defined by being planted with seeds, which pumpkins definitely have. Therefore, while a part of the gourd family, they are a type of fruit. This is also a warm-weather crop, similar to other types of winter squash, which is why it is available to be harvested in the fall season.

There Are a Wide Range of Colors and Styles

Another fun fact about pumpkins is that there are many different colors, sizes, and even shapes. When people think of pumpkins, they often envision round or oval bright orange pumpkins, but this is only one of many varieties. Depending on where you live and what is available, you might find pumpkins in red, yellow, white, or even multi-colored varieties. Round and oval are common, but some are pear shaped, taller or shorter. There are mini pumpkins, large ones, and every size in between. Naturally, some pumpkins re better for carving, others are good for eating, and some of the more unique ones are best for decorating.

Pumpkins Are Mostly Water

Pumpkins are about 90 percent water. This is partly why they are so low in fat, similar to other foods with high water content – cucumbers, lettuce, and celery. Pumpkins also contain a long list of nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and many more minerals. This makes them a fall superfood!

More Facts About Pumpkins

Here are a few more things you might not know about pumpkins:

  • The flowers that grow around pumpkins are completely edible, as well as the skin.
  • Pumpkins were once used for pie crust, instead of filling like it is used now.
  • Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for herbal medicine as well as food.
  • Pumpkins grow on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica.

Ideas for Using this Superfood

When fresh pumpkins are available, there are many options that are good for cooking. This article lists the 10 best; they include Baby Bear, Sugar and Butterkin, which is a cross between a butternut squash and a pumpkin. Find more information and photos so it is easy to look for what you want: https://www.10best.com/interests/food-culture/what-types-of-pumpkins-cook-eat/ Mini-pumpkins are also good for cooking; this article includes sweet and savory suggestions.  https://www.thekitchn.com/what-to-do-with-all-those-mini-69921

Canned pumpkin provides the same superfood nutrition during the parts of the year when fresh pumpkins are unavailable.  And even in the fall, it’s easier to make a wonderful batch of Pumpkin Butter in your crockpot/slow cooker with the canned version. Here’s a simple recipe: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter  Imagine the aroma in your kitchen when it is cooking!!

To explore uses of pumpkin in everything from breakfast dishes to appetizers to main dishes and more, check out this cookbook. Pumpkin by Taste of Home

 

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.

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Simple Fall and Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

thanksgiving decorI love fall decorating in my home. It adds warmth and coziness before the rush of Christmas or other holiday decorating. It can be simple and inexpensive, and other family members can get involved. Here are several ideas to try or to inspire you to think of additional things you can do right now.

1. Outdoor Display
Decorate the front yard with harvest-type items like a hay bale, pumpkins, gourds, etc. You can arrange seasonal items on a bench, chair or swing, and use baskets, burlap bags, or other containers.

A Happy Thanksgiving sign can be easily created out of wood, or create a flag out of felt. For a little color, plant a few mums, either in the ground or in pots and planters around the outside of the house, or along the pathway or drive leading up to it. You can get a lot of decorating ideas at your local nursery.

2. Door Wreath
Nothing says the holidays quite like a door wreath. You can purchase grapevine wreaths in many sizes at a craft store very inexpensively. Then hot glue or wire pine cones, chestnuts, acorns, small gourds and more onto the wreath. You could also use a foam base. To make it more reusable year after year, Silk leaves and flowers can be used.

3. Inside the House
Add fall colors in simple ways like using autumn-colored throw pillows or blankets on your couch. Scented candles in fall fragrances or a spicy, scented air freshener add those great fall scents to your whole house.

Change out some of your wall decor with seasonal scenes, thoughts or objects.  Etsy sellers have made this easy with printable designs. Find something you like, make your payment, and download your new wall art. You can print it on your home computer or put it on a thumb/flash drive and take it to your local printer (Staples, OfficeMax, etc.). Print on a slightly heavier paper and frame as you wish. My Etsy shop has a selection of fall wall art, for example: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DecorateOrganizeGive

4. Mantelpiece Display
The mantel over your fireplace is the perfect place to decorate for Thanksgiving. For a simple display, arrange some pumpkins or decorative gourds and/or Indian corn on the mantelpiece, along with a few candles. Orange, gold or brown glass vases by themselves or filled with live or silk flowers and foliage are also a nice touch. Hang a fall garland or wreath above the mantelpiece, similar to the one on your front door.

5. Create a Centerpiece
An attractive centerpiece can set the tone of any holiday table or buffet table. If you have a buffet or side table, add decorations there too. Here are some suggestions.

Fall Flower Arrangement
You can choose fresh flowers or plants – particularly in yellow, orange, brown or bronze colors – and add greenery or fall grasses to the fresh flowers. Alternately, you can make an arrangement that you can use year after year from silk flowers and foliage in a vase, basket or cornucopia. Add a complementary bow and you are all set.

Pumpkins, Gourds, and Indian Corn
You can make a beautiful fall arrangement by setting out some miniature pumpkins and ears of Indian corn on your table or sideboard. Look for yellow, red, multicolored and purple varieties of corn for an authentic Thanksgiving feel. Scatter them across your dining table or arrange them in a bowl for a nice centerpiece. And of course, there is nothing more gorgeous than a range of gourds. Keep them in a cool place and they can last for ages.

Candles and Seasonal Items
Candles always add a warm feel to a room. Pair them with displays of acorns, chestnuts and mini pumpkins.

Decorate or Paint Pumpkins
Painting pumpkins with a design can be great fun and result in some unique decorations. Acrylic craft paints, found in all craft stores and craft sections of other stores work well. Or you can choose or make stencils and spray paint them. Here’s some more information about painting pumpkins. Ehow – Painting Pumpkins

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to do some fall/Thanksgiving decorating.

If you are interested in additional fall decor items, go to this Amazon link to shop or just to get more ideas:  Fall Decor Items

Enjoy this season before the December holidays begin! It’s a lovely time of year.

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.

Follow me on Twitter!     Follow me on Instagram!   Follow me on Pinterest!

Follow me on Facebook!         Visit my Etsy Shop!