A HOMEGROWN TRADITION: Pumpkins and gourds, not just for decoration

A HOMEGROWN TRADITION: Pumpkins and gourds, not just for decoration

Above, pumpkins from King Farms at the Franklin Farmer’s Market. // AMY DISMUKES



With Halloween growing closer, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes are beginning to show up on front stoops, sidewalks and steps, each with a different ‘creepy’ carving etched into its rind.

Although my guys are already out for decoration, like many, I’ve been holding off on the artwork in order to preserve the pumpkin itself.

The use of pumpkins and winter squash as ornamentals, dates back many centuries, however, only recently has the edibility factor decreased in popularity. We forget that we can actually utilize the insides.

Many pumpkin varieties are available for purchase at the Franklin Farmers Market. // AMY DISMUKES

Native Americans wove mats using dried strips as well as roasting pieces of pumpkin over an open fire to eat.

The original pumpkin pie actually consisted of a gutted pumpkin, filled with milk, spices and honey, and baked in hot ashes.

Not only are pumpkin and winter squash both incredibly healthy, winter squash provides the greatest percentage of certain carotenoids and has shown potential in cancer prevention. So as you carve and begin to decorate for the season, don’t forget about all those yummy treats and healthy foods that we can make using the flesh and seeds of pumpkins and winter squash.

Even certain gourds, another ornamental fruit we humans use to decorate with, can have it’s place in the kitchen and your belly!

Check out a few healthy recipes at the following websites:
https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce- guide/pumpkin

pumpkin“A Home Grown Tradition” is written by Amy Dismukes. Amy is the UT/TSU Horticulture Extension Agent for Williamson County, Tennessee, and is a graduate of Auburn University, where she received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and a Master of Agriculture in Plant Pathology and Entomology. She provides educational training for both homeowner and commercial clientele regarding issues concerning horticulture, conducts site visits throughout the county to diagnose and resolve issues with insects, plant diseases, soil and weeds, and is a frequent guest speaker for professional, garden and horticultural associations and commercial pesticide workshops/conferences. Amy also coordinates the Williamson County Master Gardner program. Email any questions to Amy at adismuke@utk.edu.

This column includes research-based recommendations from Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee. Extension is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce. Educational pro-grams serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation or national origin.

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