Cooler weather can mean only one thing: It’s officially pumpkin season.
From jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving to mix-and-match little ones for decorations, the orange squash is a versatile vegetable that is native to North America.
Some people like the really big ones: A Belgian man set a world record last week with a super squash that weighed 2,624.6 pounds. The previous world-record pumpkin was 2,323 pounds.
United States growers showed off huge pumpkins at California festivals earlier this month, but neither came close to a world record. Russ Pugh from Santa Rosa won the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival with a 1,944.5-pounder. Cindy Tobeck of Olympia, Wash., won last week’s Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay with a pumpkin weighing 1,910 pounds.
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And others like the really tasty ones: Various record keepers say Americans consume more than 50 million pumpkin pies every Thanksgiving. Although these days, consumers can also find pumpkin-flavored anything, from pancakes to coffee to candy to cheesecake to ice cream to beer.
Want to grow your own next year? Save your seeds from this year’s pumpkins and plant them between the last week of May and the middle of June. They should be ready in 90 to 120 days, just in time for next pumpkin season.