Do you have pumpkins on your porch for the Halloween season? Pumpkins are native to Central America and wouldn’t grow here naturally if they hadn’t been introduced as a crop, but Illinois sure does grow a lot of pumpkins these days. In fact, Illinois is the top pumpkin-growing state in the United States. Illinois grows twice as many acres of pumpkins as the next top-producing states! We even grow a lot of pumpkins here in Will County. It is among the top 10 pumpkin-producing counties in Illinois.
Pumpkins are a fruit. They are a vine crop that belong to the cucurbits family. Other plants in this family include cucumbers, squash and melons. The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word “pepon,” which means large melon. The flesh of pumpkins is often used on pies, breads and even soups, and the seeds can also be eaten. Many people salt and roast them for a snack.