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Pumpkin Facts and Fun



Pumpkin Facts and Fun
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.16

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    snakebites, stringy, wither, yellow-orange, cholesterol, normally, calories, ashes, jack-o, nutritious, potassium, layer, member, pounds, beneath, minutes
     content words:    By October, United States


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Pumpkin Facts and Fun
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Pumpkins aren't just for jack-o'-lanterns. This member of the squash family that we normally eat as a vegetable is really the world's largest fruit. One person grew a pumpkin that weighed 1,800 pounds. Now, that's a giant fruit! Pumpkins are also quite colorful. Different varieties come in white, yellow, and orange. Newer varieties come in dark green, blue, and black. The bright orange ones we usually think of are the Connecticut field variety. I don't know about you, but I don't think a jack-o'-lantern would be quite the same if it is made from a white pumpkin.
 
2     When pumpkin seeds are planted in the ground, they grow into vines. Bright yellow-orange flowers bloom along the vine. Then, as the flowers wither, beneath them the little green pumpkin begins to grow. Pumpkins take quite awhile to mature. From planting to harvest is about four months. By October, about eighty percent of the pumpkins grown in the United States are on hand just in time for Halloween.
 
3     Pumpkins are nutritious too. They are high in vitamin A, vitamin B, and potassium. They are low in calories, low in salt, and contain no cholesterol. They are used in many recipes. Breads, cookies, pies, and soups are made from pumpkins. The Pilgrims hollowed out pumpkins, added milk, honey, and spices. The pumpkins were then baked in hot ashes, making the first pumpkin pies. The Pilgrims also used the flowers and leaves in salads. Yes, they are edible too.

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