NC Cooperative Extension

Pumpkin History

Pumpkin History

From: Some Food For Thought  Newsletter By: Sonya G. Patterson,
Caswell County FCS Agent

References to pumpkins date back many centuries.  The name pumpkin originated from the Greekhhpumpkin
work for “large melon” which is “pepon”. 
“Pepon” was nasalized by the French into “pompon.”  The English changed “pompon” to
“pumpion.”   Shakespeare referred to the
“ pumpion” into “pumpkin.”  The “pumpkin”
is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow, Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella. 

Native American dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into
mats.  They also roasted long strips of
pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. 
The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the
pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and
honey.  The pumpkin was then baked in hot

Pumpkin Facts

  • Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.
  • Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  • Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies, and breads.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in
    diameter and weighed over 350 pounds.  It
    used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took
    six hours to bake.
  • Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called
  • Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient
    for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and
    curing snake bites.
  • Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1, 140 pounds.
  • The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Pumpkins are fruit.
  • Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is
    available in October.
  • Native Americans called pumpkins “isqoutm squash.”
  • Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.
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