Oh how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year. ~
Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, October 2010
Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods. There, I said it. One might even call it an addiction I suppose. I hoarded my last k-cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee until it was available again in mid-September and was quite proud of myself for that. I don’t think I’ve yet found a way I don’t like pumpkin. When the spirit moves me, I make pumpkin bread and muffins, stir up some pumpkin soup, enjoy pumpkin ice cream and custard, and slice up a pumpkin pie. Even better is when I make a batch of my mom’s pumpkin bars. Little slices of heaven, those are.
I like pumpkin seeds, roasted with a little sea salt. Jack-o-lanterns, carved into a beauty unto themselves. I like pumpkins fresh from the fields, crusted with some leftover mud, sitting on a porch with some straw and maybe a squash or two. Makes a front porch a home to me.
I’m pretty sure my love of pumpkin came from growing pumpkins in the garden. We’d celebrate the vines poking up from the ground, carefully separating them into individual tendrils to encourage as many pumpkins as possible. Well, minus the pumpkin blossoms we’d pluck away to take inside and fry up for snacking. But we’d always try to have at least fifteen or twenty good-sized pumpkins grow each year. Nothing like the fair pumpkins, mind you… all we wanted were some nice round ones for roasting and for carving. But the care and nurturing of those would occupy our attention throughout the summer and be a point of pride. I’d eagerly drag my parents out at least twice a week to show them how much the pumpkins had grown.
Sure, lots of other stuff grew in the gardens as well, but the pumpkins were –and still are– my favorites. Maybe because they were some of the last items to be taken out of the garden, long after everything else was dried up and unproductive. Maybe because we would spend quality family time lugging them into the house and carefully carving a few into porch decorations for the season or sorting through the awful insides to separate out the seeds for Mom to roast in the oven. I’m pretty sure that is one reason pumpkins and fall are my favorites — together they mean family, sharing, and moments spent with people I love.
My husband grew up near one of the largest county fairs in the country, and their pumpkin displays are always worth the trip. They mean business with their pumpkins, as this picture of the 2008 grand champion shows.
If you get the chance, go pick a pumpkin this year. I heard there’s a pumpkin shortage this year, so get them while you can.
And if you have great ideas for carving it or cooking with it, be sure to share.
Most of all, though, enjoy pumpkin season!