Fall brings lots of questions about pumpkins

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Since I get a lot of questions about pumpkins this time of year, I decided to share some of them with you today.
• What exactly is a pumpkin?
A vegetable? No. A fruit? Yes! A fruit is defined as being the part of the plant which contains seeds. The average pumpkin contains about a cup of seeds, so they are most definitely a fruit.
• How many pies can you get from a pumpkin?
A 5 pound pumpkin will make about two 9-inch pies.
• Can I make a pumpkin pie from a Jack-O-Lantern?
Yes- but it won’t taste very good! Jack-O-Lanterns were bred to have upright straight walls, to be hollow, and to stand up to being carved. They were not bred for eating. Look for the ones generically labelled sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins for cooking and you will have much better results.
• How long will my pumpkin last after I carve it?
Once a pumpkin has been carved it has a short life span, usually not more than a few days. To make it last longer, try coating it with clear acrylic spray or hairspray and coat the cut edges of your Jack-O-Lantern with petroleum jelly or vegetable to prevent moisture loss.
• Are pumpkins nutritious?
They fit well into a health-conscious diet .Pumpkins are low in fat, calories and sodium but high in fiber. Pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant. And aside from that, they taste good!
• How do you can pumpkin?
Cubed pumpkin must be processed in a pressure canner. Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash.
• Can you eat a gourd?
Sadly, no. They have a woody fibrous tissue inside. You can dry them though, and if properly cured and cared for they will last a lifetime.
• Try these tips for your Jack-O-Lantern:
t Instead of cutting out a lid, you can cut a hole from the base of your pumpkin. After your pumpkin is carved simply place it over the candle.
t For a pleasing aroma sprinkle some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on the inside of the lid of your pumpkin. The heat from the candle will activate the smell and send it wafting through the air.
Vickie Clark is the Director of the Carter County UT Extension Office and also serves as the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. If you have questions or need any information related to Family and Consumer Science contact her at the UT Extension Carter County, 824 East Elk Ave., Elizabethton, call 542-1818 or email at vclark@utk.edu.

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