Did you know that in 2004, the biggest pumpkin in the United States grew in Washington? The 1420 pound pumpkin broke the record for the largest pumpkin ever grown. Since then, pumpkins have gotten even bigger. The current world record is held by an 1818 pound pumpkin from Canada. Giant pumpkins can gain 20 to 25 pounds a day at the height of the growing season.
Almost 2000 acres of pumpkins are grown commercially in Washington State. While pumpkins are not one of the biggest crops in the state, they are grown in almost every county. Most are grown for Halloween decorations. They range in size from two inches across to giant pumpkins. Some varieties are so small they fit in the palm of your hand.
The kind of pumpkin you choose depends on how you plan to use it. If you are looking for a pumpkin to carve or paint, choose any shape and size that appeals to you. The pumpkin should feel hard with no soft spots and have a stem attached. Careful, don’t carry your pumpkin by the stem, it might break and drop the pumpkin on your toes. Keep your pumpkin in a cool, dry place until you are ready to carve or paint it.
If you want a pumpkin to make a pie or other treat, look for a cooking variety such as a Sugar pumpkin. It will have sweeter, softer flesh.
Most pumpkin varieties will keep for at least 3 months. Store in a cool dry place with good air circulation where it is protected from sun and frost.
Pumpkin is low in calories and a good source of fiber and vitamin A. Pumpkin is very high in the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene converts into Vitamin A in the human body.