On Saturday my family and I went shopping to our local farm shop Calcott Hall and I was so happy to see these bad boy pumpkins are back on our supermarket shelves. I love this time of year when it starts turning colder and winter is setting in. The shops begin to become more colourful with bright oranges and reds. For me these colours remind me of autumn and that I can soon start to get cosy and warm in my home. As I was photographing these pumpkins I began to wonder why they are a symbol of Halloween.
In the USA pumpkins go hand in hand with the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. Carving pumpkins into jack o’lanterns is a popular tradition over there but it originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Back then however, lanterns were made from turnips and a piece of coal would have been used as a light. It wasn’t until the Irish immigrants arrived in America and they discovered a new Halloween tradition.
Many years ago in Ireland and Scotland, Halloween was seen as a festival and a time when supernatural beings and the souls of the dead roamed the earth. A jack o’lantern was said to represent the spirit of the supernatural beings and they were used to deter evil spirits. Occasionally the lantern would be used to scare people and sometimes they were put on a window sill in a home to keep harmful spirits at bay.
So when Irish immigrants arrived in America in the 19th century they found pumpkins made great lanterns. Since then the tradition has continued and it’s once again becoming a part of the UK’s celebrations. In the UK, they are used to inform people that you are willing to take part in the trick or treat traditions.
Plus once you crave the pumpkin the flesh inside can be made in lots of different dishes including soups, stews, breads, biscuits and cakes. Of course in America they make the famous pumpkin pie which is a sweet dessert. Click here for a gluten and dairy free version.
On Saturday I bought a couple of pumpkins as I have had lots of recipe ideas for my blog. So I decided to cook the pumpkin in my slow cooker. Don’t worry, I bought a small one and it did fit in! All I did was wash the pumpkin and place it into the slow cooker for six hours on low. To check that it was cooking I removed the lid of the slow cooker and put a knife into the pumpkin. It went in easily so it was cooked. Once it had cooked I removed it and left it to cool for a few hours. Then I cut it in half and scooped out the seeds. Next I scraped the flesh away from the skin and blended it to make a puree.
If the pumpkin is too big then you will need to cook it in the oven but the slow cooker did a great job. My new pumpkin recipes will be coming to my blog this month. To stay in touch with all my new recipes then don’t forget to click follow and you will receive an email from me every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with my latest blog post.
What are your favourite pumpkin recipes? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts on Halloween and pumpkins too.