Pumpkins

September 4, 2009, Posted by Carmen Lopez Marshall at 5:36 pm | No Comments

In 1584, French explorer Jacques Cartier spotted pumpkins for the first time in the St. Lawrence region, and Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca reported on pumpkins growing near Tampa even earlier, in 1528. Native Americans who first encountered the Spanish at the Rio Grande river offered the Spaniards pumpkin seeds as part of a peace offering. Pumpkins are uniquely American.

Every October, the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off takes place in Half Moon Bay, California, kicking off the larger Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkins here routinely weigh in at more than 1,000 pounds.

Pumpkins can used for more than making pies and carving jack-o-lanterns. Argentinans cook a meat stew in a hollowed-out pumpkin, with the flesh of the pumpkin thickening the broth. In Spain and Mexico, pumpkin seeds are roasted or fried, and then salted; along these same lines, pumpkin seeds coated with soy sauce and olive oil and toasted in your oven are an addictive snack.

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