This week we are introducing our Jack O’Lantern pumpkins for sale on our online market. We will offer them for sale right up until the day before Halloween (our last delivery day that week). To go along with this new product, this week we’re going to take a look at the many different uses for pumpkins, as well as their history in agriculture and food.
Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash, related to other cultivars like Butternut or Acorn squash. Their orange color and round, ribbed shape have become iconic symbols of the autumn harvest season. Pumpkins are native to North America and were an important source of food for native people and colonists alike. The squash has a wide variety of cooking applications- it can be roasted in chunks, pureed or mashed, and cooked into soups and pies. Growing up anywhere in the United States, it would be very difficult to avoid having pumpkin pie at some point in one’s life, as this dish is a massively popular fall delicacy. The coffee company Starbucks has capitalized on this tradition with their “pumpkin spice” latte (although, ironically, this drink doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin, and tastes instead of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger). The introduction of the pumpkin spice latte has led to a huge trend in food products flavored with the spices used for pumpkin pie.
Pumpkins also have deep cultural resonances for people in North America. There is a long tradition in Britain and Ireland of carving vegetables such as turnip and rutabaga into lanterns during the Halloween season. These lanterns were supposed to ward off evil spirits. Immigrants from the British isles brought the practice to North America, where they began to use pumpkins instead, due to their easy availability and larger size. The image of a big orange pumpkin in a field symbolizes the turning of the season and the end of summer warmth and long days. Many American children have fond memories of going pumpkin-picking with their families to prepare for Halloween lantern-carving.
When you get your pumpkin this year, send us your best Halloween lantern photos and we will post them on social media! Have a great week, Harvesters.