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It’s getting close to Halloween, so every supermarket is piled high with pumpkins, the spookiest veg around. For National Pumpkin Day, here’s four unusual facts about the ghoulish gourd.
…but they’re not actual ghosts (sorry!). Although the orange pumpkin is the most iconic, pumpkins grow in a variety of colours, including yellow, pink and blue. White varieties have been spookily nicknamed ‘ghost pumpkins’ due to their pale colour.
Pumpkins weren’t always the Halloween veg of choice. In the early days of jack-o-lanterns, scary faces were originally carved into turnips. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants brought the tradition over to America that pumpkins gained their association with Halloween, as they were much more easily available and easier to carve than the turnip.
Despite being know commonly as a vegetable, pumpkins are actually a fruit from the same family as melons. Their name even comes from a bad translation of the French for ‘big melon’, which is how they were originally known.
Nearly every part of the pumpkin is edible, pumpkin flesh can be boiled, pureed, and curried into a variety of delicious recipes, while the seeds can be roasted for a healthy snack - even pumpkin flowers can be cooked and eaten. The only part of the pumpkin you can’t eat is the hard skin, handily the only part you need for your jack-o-lanterns, so this Halloween try making some tasty treats from your pumpkins too.