October 26 is National Pumpkin Day, and people expected a day to be devoted to pumpkins because they are usually plentiful and popular this time of the year. With Halloween and Thanksgiving coming soon, they are available for food and decoration. Why are they so popular?

Popular in the US

Pumpkins are very popular in the United States. The country produces about 1.5 billion pounds of the big orange squash every year. Surprisingly, Illinois is the state that produces most of them. They are so easy to raise that they are actually grown on every continent except Antarctica.

The flavor is now in many foods, drinks, and other products. Most people know about the pie as a Thanksgiving dessert, but today the flavor is not limited to just pies. It is found in bread, cookies, ice cream, teas, beer, soy milk, coffee, spice latte, puddings, Pringles, and Pop-Tarts, just to name a few foods and drinks. A lot of people like to eat the seeds. National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day was celebrated on Saturday, October 21.

Other than food for humans, veterinarians recommend canned pumpkin for dogs and cats to help with any digestive problems. Also, raw pumpkin is fed to chickens during the winter months so they can still produce eggs when it is cold.

Record holders

The biggest size pumpkin on record is one grown by a Wisconsin farmer.

It was as big as a dumpster and weighed 1,810 pounds. He contributed its size to what he used to fertilize the soil. The current record holder for the heaviest one grown in the United States belongs to a man from Streator, Illinois who grew a 2,145-pounder in 2015. The current world record holder is a man from Switzerland. In 2014, he grew one that weighed 2,323-pounds.

No one has grown a heavier one since then.

Pumpkin or jack-o'lantern?

All pumpkins are not jack-o'lanterns, but all jack-o'lanterns are pumpkins in disguise. In other words, they do not become jack-o'lanterns until they are carved and decorated. When they are on the vine, they are just pumpkins.

You can celebrate the special day by making a jack-o'lantern along with your family.

Save the seeds to bake for a healthy and inexpensive autumn snack. There are so many different dishes, drinks, and desserts available that it will not be hard to make a selection that the entire family will enjoy eating and drinking. Keep in mind that you don't have to wait until Halloween or Thanksgiving to celebrate the pumpkin.