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Fun facts you didn’t know about pumpkins

It's a festive coffee flavour, a Halloween must-have and sometimes a cute nickname for a loved one. But did you know that pumpkins are actually one of the most widely grown (and eaten!) crops in the world? Here are four fun facts you didn't (or maybe you did, smarty pants!) know about pumpkins:

1) Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October (in time for Halloween) when they are bright orange in colour. Did you know that their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year?

2) You can eat the whole thing! From seeds to flesh to leaves and even the stem, pumpkins are one amazingly healthy food source. In CARE's food and nutrition projects in Zambia (and in other countries as well!) for example, people make orange maize-pumpkin leaves porridge as shown in food demonstrations to prevent malnutrition! Pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled and are a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron. Talk about a super food!

3) Pumpkins are grown in every continent except Antarctica! The biggest international producers of pumpkins are: China, India, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States. Throughout our work, we've seen pumpkin being grown and enjoyed in places like Zimbabwe, Nepal, Bangladesh, India and more!

4) There are over 50 different varieties of pumpkin. They range in color like red, yellow, and green, and have names like Hooligan, Cotton Candy, and Orange Smoothie. How whimsical!

Little Mildred enjoying orange maize-pumpkin leaves porridge from a CARE food demonstration in Zambia.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin, Zambia

Now that you know a bit more about this famous fruit (yes fruit, not vegetable!), take a moment this Halloween before carving up to say a word of thanks. Maybe save the seeds and the flesh inside. Grow your own at home. Use your used Jack-O-Lantern as compost.

Want to learn more about food and farming around the world, how CARE works with farmers and how you can help?