A Halloween Pumpkin is one of the most important aspects of Halloween celebrations. Pumpkins are carved to make a Jack-o'-lantern and added to almost all foods cooked to mark the holiday of Halloween, observed on October 31. Pumpkins used on the occasion are always fresh and handpicked by the entire family together. Farmer markets on and around October 31 are full of huge, ripe pumpkins.
Usually, at least 2-3 pumpkins are purchased for the occasion, 1 or 2 smaller ones for cooking purposes and a large one for decorations and carving.
Pumpkins have been an important part of Halloween celebrations since the ancient times. References to pumpkin carvings and using it in different preparations have been found in cookery books from the Middle Ages and even before.
Popular Halloween Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkins are used in almost everything, from starters to desserts and even beverages.
- Soups: Some of the popular soups made from pumpkin specifically for the occasion include Orange Pumpkin Soup (a sweet-savory combination of oranges and pumpkin chunks), Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (a savory soup made with black beans and pumpkin), Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish and Pumpkin Bisque, to name a few.
- Side Dishes: Sweet and Sour Pumpkin, Caramelized Pumpkin Strips, Pumpkin Bread, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, etc., are usually served as side dishes.
- Main Course Dishes: Pumpkins are very versatile when it comes to their usage in cooking and therefore, there are many dishes that are prepared with it as the main ingredient. Main course dishes that feature in most Halloween feasts include Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Roast Duck and Wild Mushrooms, Overstuffed Pumpkin with Cornbread and Turkey, Chicken Braised with Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin and Oxtail Couscous and Pumpkin Risotto with Amarone Sauce.
- Desserts: Popular Halloween Pumpkin desserts include Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Butter Cake, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Bars, Apple Butter Pumpkin Torte and Pumpkin Parfaits.
- Beverages: Pumpkin juice and pumpkin-flavored/based drinks are common beverages that accompany foods.
Carved Halloween Pumpkins
Carved Pumpkins form an important part of Halloween decorations. The pumpkins are first cleaned and gutted and then a 'scary' face is carved on the surface of the now hollow vegetable. The carved pumpkins are usually placed on doorsteps and a light or candle is placed on the inside to add to the effect.
A Halloween Pumpkin is not just a vegetable or ingredient but an important ages old tradition.