Pumpkins are related to squashes, cucumbers, and cantaloupes. References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for “large melon” which is “pepon.” “Pepon” was nasalized by the French into “pompon.” The English changed “pompon” to “Pumpion.” Shakespeare referred to the “pumpion” in his tale The Merry Wives of Windsor. American colonists changed “pumpion” into “pumpkin.” The “pumpkin” is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella.
In the New World, the pumpkin’s ancestors can be traced back 9,000 years to Mexico. Native Americans used pumpkins for food long before any European settlers arrived by drying strips of pumpkin and cutting them into mats. They also cut strips of pumpkin and roasted them on an open fire to get them through the long winters. As centuries passed they learned many ways of enjoying the inner meat of the delicious and nutritious winter squash: baked, boiled, roasted, fried, parched, or dried. They also used pumpkin seeds for medicine. The Native American term for pumpkin is “isquotm squash.”
The pumpkin pie originated when the colonists cut off the head of the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices, and honey. Then they baked the pumpkin in hot ashes. Also, early colonists used pumpkin meat as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
Who knows who made the first pumpkin pie? But I ‘m sure glad they did!