While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Smashing news - October 26 is National Pumpkin Day!
Have you ever wondered why we carve pumpkins for Halloween? Looks as though we have the mythic Irish character "Stingy Jack" to thank for that. Legend has it Jack played not one, but two tricks on the devil and as a result was denied entry to both heaven and hell when he died. The devil gave Jack’s soul some coal to light the way, and Jack, being resourceful, put it in a hollowed-out turnip. This became known as a jack-o’-lantern. Different parts of England starting using turnips, potatoes and beets filled with coal to ward off evil roaming the streets. It wasn’t until America was settled that immigrants learned of the pumpkin, which is native to the U.S.
Pumpkin-flavored everything is popular this time of year since pumpkins ripen when the weather starts to turn. The cold weather means pumpkin-flavored coffee, cheesecake, even beer. Speaking of which, turning a pumpkin into a keg for pumpkin-flavored beer is much easier than you think, and sure to be a fantastic party trick.
One of the earliest pumpkin-flavored concoctions was the pie. Resourceful colonists would apparently cut the top off a pumpkin, remove the pulp and seeds and then fill the gourd with milk, spices and honey and bake it over hot ashes.
When you pick up your pumpkins for carving, grab an extra so you can actually cook it! Pumpkins are very nutritious and their sweet flesh means kids won’t know you’re feeding them something healthy. Spices like cumin, turmeric, paprika or chipotle powder can turn your pumpkin into a trip around the world.
If there’s a pumpkin shortage in your part of the country this year, you might want to reach out to Ron Wallace. A couple of weeks ago he won a $15,000 prize for growing not only the largest pumpkin ever , but also the largest fruit grown anywhere in the world. Ron’s pumpkin weighed in at 2,009 pounds, beating the previous record of 1,843 pounds.
Every day is national pumpkin day for me! :)
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