Picture this — it’s mid-October and the weather has finally cooled down. You’re sipping on warm apple cider along a bumpy hayride before coming to a stop in front of a great big pumpkin patch…
Six to eight weeks before your perfect autumn adventure, those pumpkins plants were blooming with bright yellow flower blossoms. Yes, you read that right, pumpkin plants grow flowers! And the reason is pretty simple; plants that produce fruits require flowers to pollinate.
Now you’re probably thinking, “pumpkins aren’t fruits!” But by technical definition, pumpkins are a variety of berries with a thick rind. Think melons…in fact the name pumpkin comes from the Greek word pepon, which means large melon.
About halfway through the growing season, a pumpkin patch will be gleaming with vibrant green leaves and those starry yellow flowers. This is when pollinators will come in and carry pollen from the stamen of the male flower to the stigma of the female flower. A small bump will appear at the base of the female flower which matures into the pumpkins you picked this weekend! It’s a really interesting process, not to mention the flowers are beautiful too! Healthy pumpkin plants will continue to flower until the first frost of the season, so if you’re lucky you might see some around this time too.
Now we all know about cooking and baking with pumpkins, as well as roasted pumpkin seeds, but did you know you can eat the pumpkin flower too? The flowers contain minerals including magnesium, calcium, and vitamins b, c and e. The most common ways to prepare the flowers are fried crispy or sautéed and stuffed. I have to admit I’ve never had them, but I’m willing to try anything once! Stop in our conveniently located metro location on Rockwell and Northwest Expressway to pick up an awesome autumnal arrangement and let us know if you’ve ever cooked with pumpkin!