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University of Illinois

Picking the Perfect Pumpkin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2013

URBANA, Ill. – When you think of Halloween, what pops into your head? Trick or treating, candy, fall, and maybe pumpkins! Pumpkins and Halloween go together, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

"Illinois is the number one pumpkin-producing state in the United States," said Ron Wolford. "In 2012, Illinois pumpkin farmers produced an estimated 623 million pounds of pumpkins."

Wolford added that pumpkins are grown on every continent except for Antarctica.

"Morton, Ill. claims to be the 'Pumpkin Capital of the World' as 80 percent of the world's canned pumpkin is processed there. Morton celebrates everything pumpkin at its annual Morton Pumpkin Festival in September," he said.

At the 2012 Topsfield, Massachusetts Fair's All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, the world's largest pumpkin, which weighed 2,009 pounds, was grown by Ron Wallace from Greene, R.I. This was the first time a pumpkin weighed more than 2,000 pounds.

"That may be a little too big for a jack-o'-lantern," Wolford observed.

Pumpkins are used to make pies, soups, and breads. The world's largest pumpkin pie was made at the New Bremen (Ohio) Pumpkinfest in 2010. The pie was 20 feet in diameter and weighed 3,699 pounds. Ingredients for the pie included 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 2,796 eggs (233 dozen), 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 525 pounds of sugar, 7 pounds of salt, and 14.5 pounds of cinnamon.

Wolford offered the following are tips for selecting a perfect pumpkin.

For more information about pumpkins and a listing of local pumpkin farms, visit the U of I Extension web site Pumpkins and More at www.urbanext.illinois.edu/pumpkins.

Source: Ron Wolford, Extension Educator, Horticulture, rwolford@illinois.edu

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