They only come around once a year and now that we are nearing the start of fall, that time is here. Pumpkins are a gourd like squash that are native to North America. Most commonly having a thick orange or yellow shell, pumpkins truly are a treat this season. Having received the name pumpkin by the first American colonists, from a root word of pepon in Greek; which means “large melon.” Pumpkins, depending on where they are grown, can weigh anywhere between less than 1 pound to over 1,000 pounds. The record for largest pumpkin was topped in 2010, with an astonishing 1,810.5 pound pumpkin!
In common folklore, pumpkins are associated with Halloween, witches and usually a bit of magic; as depicted in Cinderella, where the fairy godmother turns a large pumpkin into a white, royal carriage to take Cinderella to the ball. At Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, we have some pumpkin themed items that might just bring some magic into your home, like our Pumpkin Wagon Salt & Pepper Set. Don’t worry about pumpkins being out of style after Halloween, many of our items feel harvest enough to take your decor through the end of November. For example, our Small Pumpkin Accent Pillow, featuring a lovely burnt orange cotton check with detailed hand stitching and soft green, felt leaves. It’s weighted to sit upright anywhere in your home. The Harvest Crow & Pumpkin Pillow and matching Wool Hook Harvest Pumpkin Chair Pad display a similar wool hook pumpkin patch design atop a brown background; presenting a friendly black crow on the pillow. Did you know that over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year in the USA?
Not all pumpkins are the familiar bright orange, some can be shades of green, gray or even white. So not to be shy when choosing another color, we offer you our White Pumpkin Star Pillow. This cute little accent pillow has a white, hand-appliquéd pumpkin design, tiny berries sewn with French knots and a white chenille trim against a wool, green background; with a cotton plaid back. Or maybe you’ll like our Autumn Mix, showcasing a mix of different colored pumpkins and gourds. Use this mix as a decor filler in any glass vase or table centerpiece. Remember it’s in the details!
We all know a good pumpkin pie when we taste one, but where does all that flavor come from? Pumpkins are rich in Alpha and Beta carotene, which produce a high content of Vitamin A. Those rich nutrients translate into a healthy ingredient in many baked desserts. Best picked when ripe, pumpkins make a great puree for pie. But other areas of the world have been using them a lot differently. In addition to pies, bread and seeds like we’re used to in America, some in Mexico choose to batter pumpkin wedges and then deep fry them as a plating garnish. In Japan they use pumpkin as an ingredient for Tempura. And we can’t forget about a delicious and warm pumpkin soup, though popular in the U.S., China has the recipe perfected by including other cooked vegetables. Therefore, pumpkin dishes get their flavor by the addition of others, but are truly a great base fruit for your cooking and baking needs. (Yes, pumpkins are technically a fruit, though treated as a vegetable, just like the tomato!)
A couple other pumpkin filled products at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, are just waiting to find a spot in your country home real soon. Like our Pumpkin Wreath that is just bursting with friendly fall colors. As seen here to the right, this wreath is easily mounted on any wall in your home to really display pumpkins at their best. To add a touch of Maine, we even have some real pinecones hidden within the arrangement of the wreath. Our Harvest Time Wooly is another idea that’s perfect for your mantle or could make a great teacher gift. This Wooly is bundled up and cleaning up the pumpkin patch before the frost sets in. However you choose to use pumpkins, whether that be to eat, decorate or carve this season, we hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit more about the star of the harvest season: pumpkins.