Did You Know Illinois Produces the Most Pumpkins in the Country? And Other Thanksgiving Fun Facts
Check out these facts for some great conversation starters.
The Dinner Dish
- In 2009, 931 million pounds of pumpkins were produced in the major pumpkin-producing states. Illinois led the way by producing 429 million pounds, and 90 percent of the country's processing pumpkins.
- According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2010, 242 million turkeys will be raised for the sake of making our dinners more filling. That's about 7.1 billion pounds of poultry. Minnesota is the top turkey home with 47 million turkeys raised in the Gopher State.
- According to Ocean Spray, Americans consume 400 million pounds of cranberries each year, with 20 percent, or roughly 80 million pounds, eaten Thanksgiving week alone.
- North America grows about 1.2 billion pounds of sweet potatoes every year.
- The five most popular ways to serve leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Sandwiches, soups or stew, casseroles, stir-fry and salads.
- Thanksgiving is the top holiday for food consumption. The average Thanksgiving dinner contains about 3,500 calories.
- Cranberries, blueberries and Concord grapes are the only berries native to North America.
- The first known domesticated turkeys were from Mexico and Central America.
- A female turkey is called a hen and a male turkey is known as a Tom.
- Forget the bald eagle – Benjamin Franklin lobbied for the turkey to be the national symbol of the United Sates.
- Only male turkeys make a gobble sound – the females cluck.
- Domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys, however, can fly for short distances at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. Need proof? Just check out this classic clip from the 1970s sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati.
- The average mature turkey has 3,500 feathers.
- Is it true turkeys have no ears and they can drown if they stare at rain too long? Check out these turkey myths.
- Wild turkeys can run up to 25 miles an hour.
- In 1863, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln specified that Thanksgiving would fall on the last Thursday of November. Prior to that, the governors of each state determined the date of Thanksgiving. In 1941, Congress adopted a federal law declaring it the fourth Thursday in November.
- Israel consumes the most turkey per year per capita than any other country. In the U.S., turkey consumption has more than doubled over the past 25 years. In 2009, per capita turkey consumption was 16.9 pounds compared with 8.3 pounds in 1975.
- The first meal Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin enjoyed on the moon were foil food packets containing roasted turkey and all of the trimmings.
- 110 pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower – the journey took 66 days. Of those original pilgrims, it is believed that only 50 lived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.