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Saturday, October 29, 2005 

Gentlereaders...Start your pumpkins.....

or, rather, start your Halloween pumpkin carving!

(
Pam's Pumpkin Patch certainly has.....)

The History of Halloween....

Celebrated for centuries by the Celts of old, Witches and many other nature based religions, it is the most magical night of the year. It is the Witches' New Year, and the Last Harvest. Although the religious significance of it has passed for the general public, Halloween is a "magical" night for all!

On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.

When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in American they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns. Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in so many ways ever since! -
Pumpkin Carving 101

Pumpkin Masters has some handy carving hints...they also have some fun templates to download and send in a photo of your pumpkin to their carving contest!

andd then you gotta roast up some seeds....

Martha's Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 1 cup


Pumpkin seeds must be completely dried out in the oven before combining with spices. Whether for cooking or carving, choose an unblemished pumpkin that feels heavy for its size; it will store well, uncarved, at room temperature, for up to a month.

1 medium pumpkin
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch cayenne pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pumpkin open from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon. Separate flesh from seeds, and reserve the flesh for another use (see
Pumpkin Pie). Pumpkin should yield 1 cup seeds. Spread seeds on parchment in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.

In a medium bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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  • I'm Cookie Jill
  • From Santa Barbara, California, United States
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