In case you haven’t noticed Halloween is on the way, time to get creative and start carving pumpkins to put in the window. The origins of carving faces into pumpkins is lost in time. As a child pumpkins were not commonly found in shops and we used to use carve turnips into Jack O’Lanterns. We had great fun making funny faces in them, the hard part was scooping out the insides. Pumpkins are much easier to carve and I have been creative over the years. I managed to make a dragon pumpkin one year and even a puffle pumpkin when my son was really into Club Penguin. Originally a Jack O’Lantern was a watchman with a lantern, but it is also another name for a will o’wisp. These are strange lights seen over the marshes at night which are said to signify the presence of ghosts. Possibly the carved pumpkin acts as a ward against ghosts on Halloween, when ghosts are meant to be out and about. The problem with carving pumpkins is that you are always left with a large amount of pumpkin that needs to be used up. Pumpkins also contain large amounts of seeds, which can be toasted and eaten. This year I am going to plant some and see if I can grow a few pumpkins next year. I had great success with my potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli this year when I planted my vegetable garden. Sadly the slugs ate all my butternut squash.
While there are all sorts of recipes for left over pumpkin I like to use mine to make a big pot of Halloween Pumpkin Soup. It is a lovely warming soup that can be served with warm bread, the perfect snack for trick or treaters coming home on a cold night. It will no doubt be followed by plenty of sweet treats but it is great for warming you up. It would also make a great centre piece for a Halloween party, served in a cauldron or a hollowed out pumpkin (without the face carved in it!).
I found that pumpkin on it’s own could be a little bland but adding a couple of potatoes into the soup adds a touch of creaminess to the soup. I spiced my soup up with chilli and garlic flakes and a little black pepper. Other spices can be used instead, nutmeg and cinnamon are also a favourite.