The pumpkin is actually a fruit, and is related to the cucumber, most commonly orange in colour when ripe, that grows from a trailing vine. Pumpkins are a popular food, commonly eaten cooked. Pumpkins are traditionally used to carve Jack-o'-lanterns for use as part of Halloween celebrations. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape. The rind is smooth and very variable in colour. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg) but smaller varieties are in vogue for garden culture.

Today, pumpkins are well-known in English cottage gardens, and largely cultivated in continental Europe and North America.

Pumpkins are hugely popular in the United States, with total pumpkin production in major states being valued at $141m in 2008. The pumpkin capital of the world is Morton, Illinois, home to the Libby Corporation’s pumpkin industry. 90–95% of processed pumpkin is grown in Illinois.

So how can you eat pumpkin? There are many different recipes for pumpkin, and squash in general, ranging from the traditional pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup to pumpkin curries and pumpkin tagines. A very appealing way to present pumpkin for dinner is to serve the meal in the baked shell of the pumpkin. Other interesting ways to eat pumpkin are in ravioli, risotto – and even beer!

Interesting fact: the World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie is a revered title. It is currently held by a group of people in Ohio, who made a pie that was 20 feet (6.1 metres) in diameter and weighed 3,699 lb (1,677.84 kg).

The seeds are also a very nutritious snack, and in fact pumpkin has some major health benefits. Pumpkins are packed full of vitamins A and C, and are high in fibre, beta-carotene and potassium. The seeds themselves contain protein, magnesium, potassium and zinc. All this means they help keep your eyesight sharp, may reduce bad cholesterol and fight cancer, help your muscles function at their best, and keep you fuller for longer.
Growing giant pumpkins for competitions is a popular pastime for some, and many of these contests take place in the United States. The heaviest pumpkin listed (at the time of writing) in the Guinness Book of Records weighed in at 2,009 lb (911.27 kg) in 2012, although there were reports in 2013 of an even heavier one weighing in at 2,032 lb (921.70 kg).

But pumpkin fairs don’t just take place in the United States. Pictured below are some scenes from the largest Pumkin Exhibition in Switzerland, at a place called Jucker Farm. The largest pumpkin from the 2010 contest (pictured) weighed in at 529.5 kg (still some way behind the Americans’ world record). Jucker Farm is famous for its strange sculptures using pumpkins – pictured here you can see a variety of dinosaurs.

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winner pile staple colors
grey red green yellow
plants exhibition field barrel
yellow pumpkin white big small  
colourful    yellow green   
exhibition   large plant  white red 
vegetable  orange color  plants  black 
various white green fruits food
plant   dinosaur sculpture
dino dinosaur   dinosaur
pumpkin exhibition   pumpkins pumpkins pumpkin exhibition