As the Holiday season is upon us our gardens take backstage to family, friends and food. As garden junkies looking at where our food comes from, it is always in the back of our minds. As a fun conversation piece over the Thanksgiving table we wanted to see where our Thanksgiving meal comes from …
- George Washington grew sweet potatoes at Mount Vernon
- Native of South America – and domesticated more than 5,000 years ago
- Sweet potatoes are roots – unlike regular potatoes which are tubers (underground stems)
- Sweet potatoes, Ipomoea batatas, are not true yams, or members of Dioscorea spp
- North Carolina’s State vegetable is the sweet potato
- SP can be substituted in recipes that call for apple, squash, and white potatoes
Sweet potato source and reference links:
- Sweet Potato Facts from University of Nebraska Lincoln
- Is there a difference between sweet potatoes and yams?
- The top pumpkin production states are Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
- Pumpkins originated in Central America.
- Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
- Pumpkins are fruit.
- Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
- In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
- Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
- The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
Pumpkin source and reference links:
- Potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space
- Potatoes are the best-selling side dish in American restaurants
- Potatoes have one of the first commodity groups to develop and use an FDA-approved nutrition label
- French Fries were introduced to the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his Presidency of 1801-1809.
- Potatoes were originally cultivated in South America, probably in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. More than 400 years ago, the Inca Indians in those countries grew potatoes in their mountain valleys. They made a light floury mixture that they used to bake a potato-type bread.
Potato source and reference links:
- Potato Facts from University of Nebraska Lincoln
- The truth about America’s most loved vegetable – the potato
- Potatoes – USDA Economic Research Service
- An estimated 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving
- Green beans have been cultivated in Mexico for over 7,000 years
Green bean source and reference links:
- Thanksgiving was not declared a National Holiday by Congress until 1941
- The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe Native Americans in 1621 and lasted for 3 days.
- At the original Thanksgiving, there was no milk, cheese, bread, butter, mashed potatoes, corn or pumpkin pie.
- President Thomas Jefferson did not like the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day.
- The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts where the Plymouth Pilgrims were building on the land.
- The famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in the 1920’s.
Thanksgiving Facts Source: http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Thanksgiving.shtml
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
We hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
For more information, search the web for ‘state extension food safety’ to find your nearest university food safety websites, or consult some of the following resources for more information on Thanksgiving food safety tips:
- How to safely prepare your holiday meal (Source: CDC)
- Turkey stuffing basics (Source: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service)
- Thanksgiving Food Prep Tips (Source: UNL Food)
Terri James, Extension Assistant-Urban Gardening
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension