Oct 25 2009

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and Pumpkins!

Published by at 8:48 pm under Halloween,Recipes

By Aphrodite Lee

Don’t you just LOVE pumpkins! Even saying the word “pumpkin” brings an immediate smile to my face. There are just so many things you can do with them from soups and breads to pies and puddings.

The coolest thing to make with your pumpkin has GOT to be the Jack O’Lantern!  Even though my carving skills leaves much to be desired I still get a big kick out doing it. I also enjoy taking to the streets to admire the nifty craftwork of my neighbors which range from your average scary face to some pretty detailed and elaborate scenes.  Fascinating!  But where did this Autumn ritual of gutting and carving out pumpkins come from?  Why the gruesome faces and the candle?

In my search I discovered several stories that varied, as stories do, in accordance to who was telling it. So I give to you MY version of the tale based on all I’ve read:

There once was a farmer named Jack. Though Jack was known to be a very clever man he was better known for being a stingy, lazy, mean-spirited drunkard. After a long night of drinking and after having been thrown out of the local pub for non payment, Jack headed towards his farm with the thoughts of how he’d “sell his soul” for enough money for another drink. As he stumbled along his way, Jack happened upon a shadowy figure. Recognizing immediately that he was in the presence of none other than The Devil himself, Jack was on alert.

The Devil tempted Jack by fulfilling that very wish… he transformed himself into the coins Jack needed for debt owed and an additional purchase which Jack quickly stuffed into his pocket. Deal accepted! But The Devil didn’t bank on just how clever Jack was because in Jack’s pocket he kept a cross. This cross stripped him of all his powers completely and The Devil was now trapped. Jack paid his debt and made his new purchases but was careful not to remove that last coin from his pocket.

Ultimately Jack made a bargain to release The Devil but only after making him promise to never claim his soul and allow him into Hell. The Devil agreed and Jack set him free. When Jack died he immediately went straight to Hell for having lead such an awful life while he was alive but was turned away as promised. Jack went to Heaven but was again refused. He had no where to go. No where was he welcomed. Forced to walk the earth seeking a place to finally rest he roams… with only a carved out gourd which houses a flickering ember inside to light his dreary way. To this day he still wanders… ever seeking a place to stay.

Today we Make Jack O’Lanterns to ward him away (as well as other bad spirits) to let them know, keep walking because you are not welcomed here!

So have fun creating! And after the carving is all done take the seeds and roast them for an awesome evening snack. They’re quick, easy and most important… delicious! I can never get enough.

roasted pumpkin seeds
photo “waste not want not” by ndrwfgg used under Creative Commons License

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS!

What You Need:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt

What You Need To Do:

  1. Thoroughly rinse the seeds making sure to remove all pulp. Spread out on a cookie sheet so that none are lying on top of each other and let dry overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil (you can substitute olive oil for any other oil you prefer, butter or cooking spray).
  4. Sprinkle with salt, onion powder, garlic and garlic powder (feel free to get creative and add other spices such as cayenne!)
  5. Bake seeds for about an hour.  Be sure to toss them around about every 15 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

I would love to hear some of your favorite pumpkin recipes!  Please post your idea as a comment.

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