Pumpkins, Pie and Jack-0-Lanterns

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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
180px-Pumpkins.jpg


A pumpkin is a squash fruit, most commonly orange in colour when ripe. Pumpkins grow as a gourd from a trailing vine of the genus Cucurbita Cucurbitaceae. Cultivated in North America, continental Europe, India and some other countries, as well as in English cottage gardens, Cucurbita varieties include Curcurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, or Cucurbita moschata — all plants native to the Western hemisphere. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape. The rind is smooth and variable in colour. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg) but smaller varieties are in vogue for garden culture. Pumpkins are a popular food, with their insides commonly eaten cooked and served in dishes such as pumpkin pie; the seeds can be roasted as a snack. Pumpkins are traditionally used to carve Jack-o'-lanterns for use as part of Halloween celebrations.

Botanically it is a fruit, referring to a certain plant part which grows from a flower. However it is widely regarded as a vegetable in culinary terms, referring to how it is eaten.

Butternut squash is called "butternut pumpkin" in Australia, and "neck pumpkin" in parts of Pennsylvania where it is commonly regarded as a pumpkin and used in similar ways to other pumpkin.

* The pumpkin is related to the zucchini.
* Pumpkin growers often compete to see whose pumpkins are the most massive. Festivals dedicated to the pumpkin and these competitions are relatively widespread and some form tourist attractions in their own right, for example in Half Moon Bay, California.
* The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,469 lb (666 kg). Raised by Larry Checkon from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania in 2005, it is technically a "squash," Cucurbita maxima, and was of the public variety "Atlantic Giant," which is the "giant" variety - culminated from the simple hubbard squash by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the mid 1800's. However, this record is being challenged by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island, who raised an alleged 1,502 pound pumpkin in 2006[1].
* Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene. These nutrients turn to vitamin A in the body.
* Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by Irish immigrants. All Hallows Eve on 31 October marked the end of the old Celtic calendar year, and on that night hollowed-out turnips, beets and rutabagas with a candle inside were placed on windowsills and porches to welcome home spirits of deceased ancestors and ward off evil spirits and a restless soul called "Stingy Jack," hence the name "Jack-o'-lantern".
* The city of Boston, Massachusetts currently holds the world record for most lit pumpkins in one area: 30,128, set on October 21, 2006, beating out the previous record of 28,952 set in Keene, New Hampshire in 2003.
* Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state in the United States; Michigan is a distant second.
* Pumpkins were among the first foods from the "New World" adopted in Europe, probably due to a European cousin: Lagenaria
* "Pumpkin" is sometimes used as an affectionate term, often referring to one's significant other. For example: "I love you, Pumpkin."
* The pumpkin is the state fruit of New Hampshire.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkins

250px-Pumpkin_Pie.jpg


Pumpkin pie is a traditional North American dessert usually made in the late fall and early winter, especially for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The pie consists of a squash-based custard, ranging in color from orange to brown, baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust. Contrary to popular belief, traditional jack-o'-lantern-type pumpkins make coarsely textured pies. The pie is generally flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and is traditionally served with whipped cream, although in parts of Canada it is commonly served with maple syrup instead.

In the USA, this pie is normally made from canned pumpkin or canned pumpkin pie filling (spices included); this is a seasonal product available in bakeries and grocery stores. In other countries it is normally made from scratch from whole pumpkins.

The holiday carol "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays" makes a reference to homemade pumpkin pie being looked forward to by a man returning to his family's home in Pennsylvania.

Fifi's Pumpkin Pie Recipes

Here are four different pumpkin pie recipes we have tested recently. One involves substantial ginger, and many of the Kitchen's testers don't agree with Fifi, Glenn, and Gina on the value of candied ginger to the culinary world. The others are variations of a moderately traditional pumpkin pie recipe, with maple flavor. You can pick one or another based on your flavor goals, and also vary the sweetness as noted according to your own taste.

Ginger Pumpkin Pie
1 9 inch deep-dish or up to 11 inch but shallower regular pie crust

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar, according to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Maple Pumpkin Pie 1
1 9 inch deep-dish or up to 11 inch but shallower regular pie crust

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pastry Maple Leaves for decoration

The maple in this recipe is very subtle; the seasoning, and heavy custard, pretty much overpowers it. If you want a more distinctly maple flavor, use one of the following two. You may also find that this is not sweet enough; to sweeten it more, incorporate up to 1/2 cup sugar with the eggs. All in all, this is pretty close to traditional pumpkin pie flavor, with a hint of maple.
Maple Pumpkin Pie 2
1 9 inch deep-dish or up to 11 inch but shallower regular pie crust

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup maple sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pastry Maple Leaves for decoration

The maple flavor in this much richer than that of the previous recipe. We use a combination of maple syrup and maple sugar to provide give us the maple intensity we want; maple syrup alone is more delicate, and maple sugar has a heavy richness (like brown sugar), which we don't want to overpower other flavors. You can vary the proportions of maple syrup and maple sugar, remembering that when increasing the syrup, decrease the amount of pumpkin, and the amount of maple sugar, by the same amounts.
Maple Pumpkin Pie 3
1 9 inch deep-dish or up to 11 inch but shallower regular pie crust

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pastry Maple Leaves for decoration

This variation lightens up the previous version just a bit; we still use some cream, and keep all the eggs. That quarter-cup of plain sugar is optional; with it, this pie will be pretty sweet; without it, it will still be sweeter than the first Maple Pumpkin Pie recipe given above. Our test panel prefers this variation.

http://www.camellia.org/kitchen/pumpkin-pie.html

180px-Jack-o%27-Lantern_2003-10-31.jpg


A jack-o'-lantern, sometimes also spelled Jack O'Lantern, is a pumpkin whose top and stem have been cut out and interior removed, leaving a hollow shell that is then decoratively carved. Jack-o'-lanterns are associated with the holiday Halloween.

Pumpkin craft
Jack-o'-lanterns are often carved with an emotive face.
Enlarge
Jack-o'-lanterns are often carved with an emotive face.

Sections of the pumpkin are cut out to make a design, often depicting a face. A variety of tools may be used to carve and hollow out the gourd, ranging from simple knives and spoons to specialized instruments. It is possible to create surprisingly artistic designs, be they simple or intricate in nature. After carving, a light source (traditionally a candle) is placed inside the pumpkin and the top is put back into place. The light illuminates the design from the inside. Sometimes a chimney is carved in the lid to allow heat to escape.

Traditionally the carved pumpkin would be a face, often with a simple crooked toothed grin. But toward the end of the 20th century, artists began expressing every kind of idea they could imagine on pumpkins. Today, it is common to see portraits of political candidates, celebrities and cartoon characters, just to name a few. Some artists do full three-dimensional sculptures and others work with the idea that the lighted pumpkin will project in what amounts to three shades. Cut out holes will appear white; unpeeled portions will appear black, and any area that is peeled or carved to different depths will appear as various shades of yellow/orange. Examples

An Irish legend tells of Jack, a lazy but shrewd farmer who used a cross to trick the Devil, then refused to free him unless he agreed to never let Jack into Hell. The Devil agreed. When Jack died, the Devil wouldn't let him into Hell. So, Jack carved out one of his turnips, put a candle inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He was known as "Jack of the Lantern", or Jack-o'-Lantern.

There are variations on the legend. Some of which include:

* The Devil mockingly tossing a coal from the fires of Hell at Jack, which Jack then places in the turnip.
* Jack tricking/trapping the Devil a variety of ways, including placing a key or other item in the Devil's pocket when the Devil is suspended in the air or plucking an apple from a tree. Some versions include a "wise and good man" or even God helping Jack to prevail over the Devil.
* Jack's bargain with the Devil being different. In some variations, the deal is only a temporary bargain, but the Devil, embarrassed and vengeful, refuses Jack entry after Jack dies.
* Jack is considered a greedy man and is not allowed into either Heaven or Hell, without anything having to do with the Devil.

Despite the colorful legends, the term jack-o'-lantern originally meant a night watchman, or man with a lantern, with the earliest known use in the mid-17th century; and later, meaning an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp.[1] The names "Jacky Lantern" and "Jack the Lantern" persist in the oral tradition in Newfoundland, refering to the will-o'-the wisp type phenomena, rather than the carved pumpkin jack-o'-lantern.

In England, Scotland, and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede.[2] But not until 1837 does jack-o'-lantern appear as a term for a carved vegetable lantern,[3] and the carved lantern does not become associated specifically with Halloween until 1866.[4] Significantly, both occurred not in the British Isles, but in North America.

Historian David J. Skal writes,

Although every modern chronicle of the holiday repeats the claim that vegetable lanterns were a time-honored component of Halloween celebrations in the British Isles, none gives any primary documentation. In fact, none of the major nineteenth-century chronicles of British holidays and folk customs make any mention whatsoever of carved lanterns in connection with Halloween. Neither do any of the standard works of the early twentieth century.[5]

In America, the carved pumpkin was associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became an emblem of Halloween. The poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who was born in 1807, wrote in "The Pumpkin" (1850):

Jack-o'-lantern
Oh!—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,

When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!


Jack-o'-lantern

A record was set on October 21, 2006 when 30,128 jack-o'-lanterns were simultaneously lit on Boston Common. [6]

The Story of Jack-O-Lantern

By Tammarigan Tyrsdaughter



Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a man named Jack.

Jack was a handsome man, big and strong, equal in prowess both in battle and in bed. He had many friends, and many a young lass pined after him.

It so happened once, when Jack was in the midst of a battle, laying low the foes of his tribe, that he suddenly saw a wondrous vision. A woman, beautiful beyond his wildest dreams, dark of hair and eye, and with skin as pale as virgin snow, riding a flaming chariot, spear in hand, and a raven on each shoulder.

As the chariot drew close, the woman spoke to Jack.

"Come with me," she said, "for I love Thee, and would have Thee with me for all time."

But Jack was frightened, for he recognized the woman for what She was. "I don't want to go with Thee," he answered in a shaking voice, "I know Thee - Thou art the Morrighan, the Chooser of the Slain, and I am not ready to die."

Bright sparked the eyes of the Goddess in pride and anger, and She wheeled her chariot and was gone from Jack's vision.

But as he stood there, frozen in awe, an enemy warrior struck him a great sword blow across the face. Jack did not die from his wound, but his face was forever ruined, and the lasses that pined after him before, now ran from him in fear. And so Jack did not marry.

Time passed. Jack learned the art of a harper, and became known across the land for his beautiful melodies, for though he could not sing, his hands were skilled and gentle on the strings, and his lilting tunes brought both joy and sadness to the heart.

It so happened once, that when Jack was travelling, he stopped at an Inn on the crossroads. He was served his dinner by a beautiful middle-aged woman, full of figure, with dark, all-knowing eyes, and raven tresses braided in a crown around her pale face.

When Jack got into his wagon, and was ready to travel on, this same woman, wearing a dark cloak, stepped from the shadow of a nearest tree.

"Do not travel further, Jack," she said in a husky voice, "Come with me instead, for I love Thee, and I would have Thee with me for all time."

But Jack was frightened, for he recognized the woman for what She was. "I don't want to go with Thee," he answered in a shaking voice, "I know Thee - Thou art the Morrighan, the Fantom Queen, and I am not ready to die."

Bright sparked the eyes of the Goddess in pride and anger, and She whirled around, her dark cloak flaring around her like the wing of a raven, and disappeared into the shadow.

Jack continued on, but not half a mile along the road his horses spooked and ran wild, his wagon overturned, and he was gravely wounded when he fell out and was caught under the wheel. He did not die, but he lost his arm, and could play his harp no more after that.

Time passed. Though Jack was never again a warrior or a harper, his family, his kin, cared kindly for him. But everyone grows old, and in time, his brothers got old, and his sisters got old, and the younger generation no longer cared for him as well as his own siblings.

It so happened once, that right after his last brother's death, Jack was crossing a small river at a ford. It was late Autumn, and he paused on the bank to take off his shoes and socks, and roll up his breaches before wading into the almost-freezing water. Then, when he looked up again, he noticed something strange. Where the bank he was on was still red and gold with Autumn leaves, the other bank was white with snow, which lay in a thick blanket, as if it had been there for weeks. Amidst the snows, behind the dark shapes of old, gnarled trees, he saw a village, half-hidden in the mist. Warm, golden light shined from the windows of the houses that seemed familiar and welcoming to him. In front of one the houses he thought he saw his dead brother wave and fade into the gathering gloom. He also noticed an old woman on the other side, crouched by the water, and covered in dark, shapeless rags. She seemed to be washing something in the river, and her arms were red up to the elbows, and where she touched the water, the river ran red as blood. To his horror, Jack noticed that what she was washing looked very much like his own best embroidered tunic that he was wearing for his brother's funeral. The old woman looked up, and her face was as white as snow and deeply lined, with grey wisps of hair framing it like a halo, and deeply sunken black eyes that seemed like the pits of the night.

"Cross the river, and come to me, Jack," she said in a harsh, raspy voice, "for I love Thee, and I would have Thee with me for all time."

But Jack was frightened, for he recognized the woman for what She was. "I don't want to go with Thee," he answered in a shaking voice, "I know Thee - Thou art the Morrigan, the Hag, the Washer at the Ford, and I am not ready to die."

Suddenly, where before there was an old woman, The Great Queen stood in all Her Otherworldly majesty, the dark rags magically transforming into the dark wings of a raven.

"Thou art a fool, Jack!" She raged, as her black tresses flew wildly around Her face, and her eyes flamed like stars at midnight. "Thrice thy time came, and thrice I offered thee my love, for I had chosen thee as a wife would choose a husband. Thou could have been a young warrior at my side. Thou could have woven songs of splendor at my feast. Thou could have lived with me in peace and with thy family about thee. And thrice you rejected me out of fear. Now I reject thee. Never more shall I come to thee. Never more shall I call to thee. But by my curse thou shalt live for as long as this candle burns."

She reached across the river - it seemed easy now, for She was more then human - and placed a candle on the ground at Jack's feet. Then she was gone, snow and the misty village disappearing with Her, leaving nothing but an Autumn forest behind.

At first, Jack was terrified. The candle was small - surely it would burn down and die within minutes, and Jack along with it. But as minutes passed, he felt great relief, for not a drop of wax rolled down the side of the candle, and it did not seem to be burning down at all.

Carefully guarding the flame of the candle, Jack went home.

Time passed. Year after year, rolling in unending cycles. Everyone whom Jack had known as a young man had long since passed away. No one was left who even knew who he was, and in his small village he was just treated as a crazy old man, a burden on everyone, and a helper to none, for while he lived on and on, he also got older and older, and weaker and weaker, and even his mind started giving out after awhile. After a very long time, all he knew was that he had to keep his candle burning, lest he die.

His house fell into ruin, his field went untended, and all that would grow there were some turnips that his neighbors planted for him out of kindness. One night, a lightening bolt struck his house, and it burned down. Jack then took one of the turnips from his field, carved it into a lantern, and put his candle there, so that it would be protected from the rain.

He left his village and started wondering about with his lantern, looking and calling to friends and family long gone. His body grew older and older, until even his flesh disappeared, leaving only a spirit without physical substance. He hardly even noticed, for even as a spirit he still could not pass to the Other World, wondering this one with his lantern, a sad and lonely ghost, forever cursed from his fate by his fear.

And that is why turnip lanterns - now pumpkin lanterns - are called Jack-o-lanterns, and that is why we light them on Samhain - to remember Jack and his great fear, and to light the way for all the lost souls wondering about in the darkness looking for the passage to the Otherworld.

http://www.controverscial.com/The Story of Jack-O-Lantern.htm

Luke 11:33-36 33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

http://www.apuritansmind.com/podcast/WBNP23.mp3
 

JasonGoodwin

Puritan Board Sophomore
And that is why turnip lanterns - now pumpkin lanterns - are called Jack-o-lanterns, and that is why we light them on Samhain - to remember Jack and his great fear, and to light the way for all the lost souls wondering about in the darkness looking for the passage to the Otherworld.

http://www.controverscial.com/The Story of Jack-O-Lantern.htm

Luke 11:33-36 33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

http://www.apuritansmind.com/podcast/WBNP23.mp3

All good points. I even read the text version of Matt's latest podcast. It's not the first time he's spoken on this, and it probably won't be the last.

Lest I forget, I heard a radio broadcast of Focus on the Family in October 2004. There were actually two women (Pam McCune and Kim Wier of www.engagingwomen.com) who advocated turning Halloween into a Christian holiday (and I wish I was making this up). They even went so far as to cite Old Testament feasts to back up their claim. (In my humble opinion, this is comparing apples and oranges to an extreme. Theological orthodoxy would have it that this argument of theirs is completely baseless.) I shut off the broadcast for a few seconds, but put it back on to see not only just how much lunacy they put into this but also to find ways to refute it. (BTW, I went so far as to email them and told them to visit Matt's site with reference to his Halloween article and the importance of not learning the way of the heathen. I never received a response from them. No surprise there.)

Now, here's something a bit tongue-in-cheek. Could anyone every think about putting a carved pumpkin as the head of a hockey player? After all, he's already missing some teeth.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
All good points. I even read the text version of Matt's latest podcast. It's not the first time he's spoken on this, and it probably won't be the last.

Lest I forget, I heard a radio broadcast of Focus on the Family in October 2004. There were actually two women (Pam McCune and Kim Wier of www.engagingwomen.com) who advocated turning Halloween into a Christian holiday (and I wish I was making this up). They even went so far as to cite Old Testament feasts to back up their claim. (In my humble opinion, this is comparing apples and oranges to an extreme. Theological orthodoxy would have it that this argument of theirs is completely baseless.) I shut off the broadcast for a few seconds, but put it back on to see not only just how much lunacy they put into this but also to find ways to refute it. (BTW, I went so far as to email them and told them to visit Matt's site with reference to his Halloween article and the importance of not learning the way of the heathen. I never received a response from them. No surprise there.)

Now, here's something a bit tongue-in-cheek. Could anyone every think about putting a carved pumpkin as the head of a hockey player? After all, he's already missing some teeth.

I don't want to belabour the obvious but isn't halloween i.e. all hallows eve already a christian holiday?
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
In England, Scotland, and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede.[2] But not until 1837 does jack-o'-lantern appear as a term for a carved vegetable lantern,[3] and the carved lantern does not become associated specifically with Halloween until 1866.[4] Significantly, both occurred not in the British Isles, but in North America.

Historian David J. Skal writes,

Although every modern chronicle of the holiday repeats the claim that vegetable lanterns were a time-honored component of Halloween celebrations in the British Isles, none gives any primary documentation. In fact, none of the major nineteenth-century chronicles of British holidays and folk customs make any mention whatsoever of carved lanterns in connection with Halloween. Neither do any of the standard works of the early twentieth century.[5]

In America, the carved pumpkin was associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became an emblem of Halloween.

For those opposed to Jack-o-Lanterns, any response to this section?
 
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