Since many of our customers here in the U.S. have been known to break state records in giant pumpkins AND rank in the top 10 largest pumpkins in the WORLD, I only think it’s fitting to explore pumpkins around the globe.
Seriously, check out this beaut.
1,865 pounds of pure pumpkin grown by John Harnica. He set a new Michigan state record and ranks as the 9th biggest pumpkin in the world using Residuce, Myco Seed Treat (MST), SP-1, Starter Blend, Pillar, and K Sulfate.
Wonder if he contributed to the 97.8 million pounds of pumpkin Michigan produced in 2013? According to the USDA, Michigan ranks among the top 6 pumpkin producing states in the country along with Illinois with 547.6 million pounds, California with 194.7 million pounds, Ohio with 100.4 pounds, New York with 96.0 million pounds, and Pennsylvania with 94.2 million pounds. These states account for about 70 percent of total U.S. pumpkin production.
Most of those pumpkins were processed into pie fillings and whatnot, while some were used for decoration purposes. The demand also seems to be high for specialty pumpkins such as various colors (white, blue, striped), shapes (oblong, upright), skin (deep, veins, warts), and sizes, in addition to the typical jack-o-lanterns.
But not all countries grow pumpkins for the same reasons we do.
In Belgium, few people grow giant pumpkins. Rather most pumpkins are used for decoration purposes, inspired by celebrations in Irish Pubs.
In Australia, pumpkins are typically used for the main meal instead of dessert. An Australian favorite is Roast Pumpkin. When roasting a piece of lamb, beef, turkey, chicken, etc. they place a piece of skinned pumpkin in the meat juices with the potatoes, carrots, etc.
In China, pumpkins are made into soups and a pumpkin flour. It’s mostly used as a vegetable, but is also used in medicine as a pain reliever.
In England, pumpkins are used much in the same way we use pumpkins here. They just don’t get near as big as Harnica’s 1,865 pounder.
In Germany, pumpkins have been consumed as a soup, but gained popularity in years of war when food was scarce.
In New Zealand, pumpkins are used as a main course meal, rather than decorative since Halloween isn’t a huge thing. Pumpkins are also boiled, made into pie, as a soup, or roasted.
In Poland, pumpkins are used mainly for desserts and snacks. They typically aren’t used as decorative since they have a big holiday on November 1, All Saint’s Day also known as the Day of the Dead.
In Switzerland, pumpkins are used much in the same way as they are in the U.S. with the addition of gnocchi, which is a small ball of pumpkin and flour cooked in boiled water. The oil for salad is also made out of pumpkin seed.
It’s also believed that pumpkins were once recommended as a cure for freckles and snake bites.
Until next time, happy trails!