We wrap up our Pumpkin Week with a splash – literally. On day 7, we are exploring a unique activity, called Pumpkin Chunking, where we’ll discover the art of flying pumpkins. We also have a mouth-watering recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth and we’ll share some fun pumpkin information as well. Let’s continue the celebration of all things pumpkin! We are so happy that you can join in the fun.
Pumpkin chunking is a unique sport and a competitive event where participants use specially designed machines to launch pumpkins through the air. Interestingly, the goal is to see how far they can hurl the pumpkins. Pumpkin chunking combines engineering, physics, and creativity, so obviously it’s a popular activity during the fall season.
Special Equipment Needed
To begin, participants build and operate these special machines, and hope they’ll have the longest pumpkin launch. Contestants use many different types of contraptions to throw pumpkins through the air – and many personally make their inventions at home. Just thinking about flying pumpkins makes me smile!
Launch That Pumpkin!
Pumpkin chunking machines serve different purposes and have unique benefits for the sport of pumpkin chunking. Trebuchet are medieval types of catapults and use a long arm to throw a pumpkin. This device uses a counterweight to improve its accuracy, consistency, and range. More contenders use these to hurl pumpkins in competitions than the other types. Just in case you want to sound extra knowledgeable about trivial items, pronounce this word “Tre-bya-shay.”
Another apparatus, the Catapult, is smaller than the trebuchet and uses tension in order to launch pumpkins. In addition, they are versatile and can achieve impressive distances. However, building and operating a catapult is a great engineering challenge and is difficult to construct.
Next, Air cannons offer some of the most exciting pumpkin launches. These are a definite crowd-pleaser because pressure builds and there’s a dramatic and sudden release of the pumpkin. They use compressed air and achieve the longest distances in pumpkin chunking competitions.
Fun for Everyone
Last but certainly not least, Slingshots are the easiest and most enjoyable way to participate in pumpkin chunking. To begin, players attach a long elastic band to two poles to make the slingshot. Then, they simply place the pumpkin in the center of the band and let it fly! Usually, children (of all ages) can participate in these smaller events. And where can you witness these spectacular events? Fall festivals and carnivals offer pumpkin chunking contests all over!
It’s a BIG Deal!
Finally, the World Championships of pumpkin chunking is held in Oklahoma, and they take this sport seriously. The competition moves around the country due to safety regulations and concerns. It is a dangerous sport, since pumpkins can misfire without warning.
Overall, the sport of pumpkin chunking is thrilling and entertaining to watch – and fun for the entire family!
“Fall brings the thrill of pumpkin chunking, the warmth of cookies from the oven, and a symphony of colors as leaves dance to the ground. It’s a season that delights all the senses.”
The Best Pumpkin Chunking Chocolate-Chip Cookies
This recipe is one of our favorites and makes about 3 dozen small, soft cookies
½ cup butter
1-cup pumpkin puree
1-tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-tsp baking soda
1-tsp baking powder
1 1/4- tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
To begin, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Then, stir in the pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Then, stir in the chocolate chips. Next, drop dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Finally, allow cookies to cool for a minute on cookie sheets before transferring to wire cooling racks. Before they disappear, prepare the cream cheese icing.
CREAM CHEESE ICING:
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
½ cup butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans (optional)
Initially, mix all ingredients together. If desired, add a dash of salt to bring out the flavor. Then, place a large dollop of icing on top of each cookie.
Recipe was adapted from Made Everyday.
**Did You Know?
Every single part of a pumpkin is edible? Yep, you can eat the skin, leaves, flowers, pulp seeds and even the stem! Amazingly, each pumpkin has about 500 seeds. Pumpkins take about 90-120 days to grow.
Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s
Fortunately, the sport doesn’t chunk all of the pumpkins. Morton, Illinois, calls itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” In fact, 95% of the pumpkins grown in the USA are harvested in Illinois soil. Morton is also responsible for 80% of the world’s canned pumpkin production. In addition, Morton is home to Libby’s, and they are the world’s leading producer of canned pumpkin.
What’s more, pumpkins are power-packed with lots of nutrition and are very healthy. They are low in calories, but they still contain 49% of our daily needs for Vitamin K, along with Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin E, iron, folate, niacin, and beta-carotene.
As an added bonus, the pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and are associated with health benefits, including improved fertility, better heart health, and enhanced blood sugar control. And most importantly, the taste is amazing! I add them to yogurt and several other foods because pumpkin seeds add a desired crunch, which works well in many dishes.
As a staple crop, pumpkin was most likely served at the first Thanksgiving. But our version is quite different than theirs. They had no flour for crust, so they would simply hollow out a pumpkin and fill it with a combination of milk, honey, and spices before baking it in the ash of the fire. That actually sounds very tasty.
As we wrap up the last day of Pumpkin Week, we are so glad that you could join us on our pumpkin-themed adventure. It’s been a fun week of discovering new things, sharing our favorite recipes, and uncovering fascinating pumpkin facts. We plan to continue to add a touch of warmth and coziness to your fall season.