Around the Bluhmin' Town: We have a long, long history with the pumpkin

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

Do you want to grow as fat as a pumpkin? Yikes, I meant to say, Dear Readers, do you want to grow a fat pumpkin?

This year’s winner of the distinguished Largest Pumpkin in North America contest is a 2,294-pound beast! Yes, a farmer in Connecticut takes the reward of $8,500 with a pumpkin that can make 7,000 pies! Perhaps we all should consider planting a few seeds.

Orange is the color of autumn and pumpkins are very American – having grown in North America for over 5000 years. Pumpkins are not only part of the Halloween decorating tradition, but they are one of this country’s biggest symbols of Autumn, Americana and Thanksgiving.

We have a long, history with the pumpkin, dating back to when the Native Americans used the seeds for food and medicine.

Pumpkins are a fruit, in the squash or gourd family. Early settlers to America sliced off the pumpkin tips, removed the seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This concoction was then placed over a campfire and is considered the origin of pumpkin pie. In the 1800s, pumpkins were thought to be a remedy for curing snakebites and ridding people of their freckles, by smearing the gooey insides of the pumpkins over the wound or face.

Well, that didn’t work out, so folks soon realized that pumpkins were better suited in pies, soups or breads.

So how does someone grow such a humongous pumpkin? To put the size in perspective, some cars only weigh 2000 pounds! Perhaps the real question that needs answering is: could a pumpkin get that large without being pumped up on steroids? Hey, I hate to be cynical, but when one pumpkin can make thousands of pies, you have to wonder. Do pumpkins have the same rigorous testing as athletes? Oops, guess I answered my own question. When Olympic champions are confessing to juicing up and are forced to give back medals, how could we ever really know what lurks in the veins of that “plumped-up” pumpkin?

Oh, but I do love to see all those pumpkins (of normal sizes) being happily displayed around yards and porches this time of year. It is the gentle reminder that autumn has arrived, with cooler breezes in the air. It also reminds us that javelinas live here and love to eat pumpkins. Nothing like a slimy orange mess to clean up after the piggies have destroyed our festive decorations.

Hey, it’s time to get out my famous pumpkin cookie recipe, which if we each ate just one cookie a day for the next month, we’d be sure to weigh about as much as the “world’s largest pumpkin.” Maybe a pumpkin spiced latte would be a better idea.

Tis the Season of Halloween and autumn. Oh My Gourd, pumpkins represent all things orange and wonderful. Beware of little ghouls, witches and goblins. And be sure to watch out for those javelinas, because they love pumpkins as much as we do!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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