Featured Photo: Daisy Anderson
Halloween is nigh! And what does that mean? Peak pumpkin season. Presently, eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October, but these glorious gourds have been grown in North America for five thousand years.
According to a University of Missouri article, both Native Americans and colonists relied heavily on pumpkins. Natives dried strips of them which they wove into mats, while the settlers cut off the tops, removed seeds and mixed the remaining pumpkin mass with milk, spices and honey. This was later baked and is thought to be the origin of our modern pumpkin pie.
And the commanding power of these fruits (!!!) has only blossomed since. Did you know that pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites? Or that the heaviest one ever grown weighed a whopping 2,528 lbs? These are facts.
So while you can go out, gut one and light it up like usual, don’t lose your gourd with the same boring pumpkin patterns. Here are creative carving alternatives, from pineapples to oranges and beyond.
It’s a melon! It’s a jack-o’-lantern! It’s a fruit dispenser! Fun and kind of demented, this easy-to-prepare treat is festive and might entice people to eat more fruit. Win-win. realfood.tesco.com
The real cuties
Another fruit dispenser orb, oranges aren’t difficult to carve, found readily in stores and will surely surprise and delight guests. Work ahead: hollow them out a day in advance and refrigerate. seededatthetable.com
If you know how to carve a pumpkin, feel confident in your skills and want to inject some tropical vibes into your fall decor, pineapples are the way to go. Carving a pineapple — specifically, carving a pineapple jack-o’-lantern — isn’t inherently different from carving a pumpkin, but it takes a little special care. realsimple.com
Me in the morning
Another fun fact: jack-o’-lanterns have Irish roots that are actually turnip-centric. Turnips played a role in the legend of “Stingy Jack” who tricked the devil, was later refused entrance into hell and only given a burning lump of coal to guide his way. It’s said that Jack put the coal into a hollowed out turnip and has been roaming the Earth since.
According to History.com, people in Ireland and Scotland would make their own “Jack’s lanterns” by carving frightening faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows to ward off evil spirits. When these immigrants arrived in the United States they found pumpkins to be the ideal turnip replacement, through these look way more terrifying. makezine.com