America’s love of pumpkins began with pumpkin beer, not pie
I was watching the news the other night and saw some interesting facts about the jolly old pumpkin, the staple and signature of Halloween, fall and a symbol of harvest.
Many people believe that the pumpkin is a vegetable, nope it’s a fruit and it’s not true that the Pilgrims had pumpkin pie at their Thanksgiving table. What they did have, however, is pumpkin beer.
Those Pilgrims loved their beer and made it from many fruits and vegetables but pumpkin beer was a Pilgrim fan favorite. Pumpkins were new to the Pilgrims because like corn, pumpkins were unique to America.
The Pilgrims would save their brewing grains to feed themselves or their livestock and brew beer with pumpkin meat instead. Beer was a staple in those times because water was often unsafe to drink, so they would actually hydrate with beer.
An amazing 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are grown each year here in the United States. 1.5 billion with a B! The largest pumpkin on record tipped the scales at over 2,600 pounds and was grown by a man in Belgium; can you imagine that pumpkin pie?
The largest pumpkin in New Jersey was grown in Warren in 2015 by Chuck Radcliffe and weighed in at 1,415.5 lbs., breaking the previous record by almost 500 lbs.
The whole idea of carving pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns dates back centuries to Ireland where they would carve squash and potatoes leave them on the front porch to ward off Stingy Jack who was a trickster and would cause havoc if not fooled.
Comedian Lewis Black had a great bit about pumpkins, he said “Why is it when you cut into a pumpkin it smells like crap but yet it makes a tasty pie?” So when you go out and you're picking your pumpkin for your pie or decorating for the fall keep in mind the history of this amazing fruit and maybe make a tasty pie.