History of the Pumpkin

The pumpkin is a staple that many American households purchase during the fall season. The pumpkin is loved, but where did it come from and why do we carve into them on Halloween?

The Pumpkin is native to North America, and there’s evidence that the Indians used pumpkins in their diet many years before the pilgrims arrived. Once the pilgrims landed, they saw the Indians using pumpkin, and adopted the large melon into their own food uses. Pilgrims used pumpkin in stews, desserts, and soups.

Have you ever wondered where pumpkin pie came from? It was the pilgrims. Here is the original recipe.

Carved out pumpkin

After they had their pumpkin ready, they would bury it in the ashes of a fire. Out came the pilgrim’s version of a pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie isn’t the only reason pumpkins are carved out. For many centuries pumpkins have been used as jack-o-lanterns. However, pumpkins weren’t the original choice for a Jack-o-lantern. It all began as an old Irish myth. Jack invited dark spirits to have a drink with him, but when he didn’t want to pay for his drink, he convinced the dark spirit to turn into a coin. Jack kept the coin and put it in his pocket next to a silver cross. The dark spirit was kept from turning back to its original form. Jack agreed to let him out if the dark spirit didn’t bother him for a year and agreed to keep him out of hell when he died. Jack had a few more encounters with the dark spirit over the decades and eventually passed away. Jack was not allowed into heaven for his interactions with the dark spirit, but the dark spirit told Jack he wouldn’t go to hell. The devil sent Jack to roam around the dark earth with only a dim coal to light his path. Jack carved out a turnip to place his coal in and roamed about the earth.

In Ireland, people would carve scary faces into potatoes and turnips to keep Jack away. When Irish immigrants migrated to America, they found that pumpkins would make the perfect Jack-o-lantern. Other Americans caught wind of the Jack-o-lantern and joined in the creepy myth.

Today, Americans visit pumpkin patches all over the country to buy up pumpkins and carve scary faces into them. Round Rock Garden Center will have pumpkins the week of the 17th. Call ahead to see if our pumpkins are here. Once you’ve carved your pumpkin, don’t forget to share a picture on Round Rock Garden Center’s Facebook page. We can’t wait to see what you do!