The Fall months are an exciting time that brings festivities surrounding celebrations of harvest and, of course, Halloween.
One of the more popular fruits that pop up around the neighborhood under the guise of a “Jack o’ Lantern”, is the pumpkin. These round orange members of the gourd family, are in the same company as cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons, and zucchini, native to North America and Mexico. The word pumpkin originates from French explorer Jacques Cartier, who explored the St. Lawrence region of North America in 1584. During his exploration, he reported finding “gros melons.” The name was later translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”
But how did they gain popularity as Jack o’ Lanterns?
“Every October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns”—the name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack—originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.”
Watch below for the story of Stingy Jack.
The folklore and tradition of Halloween, brought over by Irish immigrants, dates back 2000 over years, to the Celtic celebration of the dead. This Celtic ritual eventually spread throughout Europe by the seventh century and became “All Hallows Eve”, the “Night of the Dead”. The European custom, which included carving scary faces (initially) into turnips, potatoes, and sometimes beets and placing embers inside to light them, was believed to ward off evil spirits, especially spirits who roamed the streets and countryside during All Hallows Eve like Stingy Jack. Once in America, it was quickly discovered that pumpkins were a bigger canvas and much easier to carve.
MG Residential is getting into the holiday spirit with a Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest! We want to show off your pumpkin carving skills! From now until November 1st, MG Residential will be holding a contest to discover the best Jack o’ Lantern via Facebook and Instagram. Like our page/Follow us, tag us (and a few of your friends) and hashtag #MGResidentialPumpkinContest when you post your carved creations through either Instagram or Facebook. The person that accrues the most likes, wins a $25 Amazon Gift Card and bragging rights (of course)! The winner will be announced November 2nd.
Need something to do with all those seeds after husking and carving out your pumpkin? Check out below for one of our favorite pumpkin seed recipes of this season.
Curried Pumpkin Seeds
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 ounces hulled pumpkin seeds (about 2 1/2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350oF. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment; spray with nonstick spray. Whisk egg white with next 6 ingredients. Add pumpkin seeds; toss. Transfer to baking sheet, spreading evenly. Bake until toasted.