What do you call a particularly pretty pumpkin?

‘Gourd-geous!’

What do you call a particularly pretty pumpkin?

‘Gourd-geous!’

Call the gourds!

What’s with Halloween pumpkins? Well, Halloween was originally a British festival called ‘All Hallow’s Eve’. It was the night when the dead spirits were meant to walk the earth.

A big fat pumpkin, squash, or any kind of carved gourd with a light inside was a way of making a scary guardian to keep those spirits away.

That’s why pumpkins on porches are a Halloween thing.

Call the gourds!

What’s with Halloween pumpkins? Well, Halloween was originally a British festival called ‘All Hallow’s Eve’. It was the night when the dead spirits were meant to walk the earth.

A big fat pumpkin, squash, or any kind of carved gourd with a light inside was a way of making a scary guardian to keep those spirits away.

That’s why pumpkins on porches are a Halloween thing.

Fancy Fruits!

Pumpkin is actually a fruit. This is the botanical definition for a fleshy growth with seeds inside.

Its name comes from the French word, pompon (from which we also get ‘pom-pom’). All pumpkins are gourds, which means hollow vegetables.

Pumpkin seeds were in the kit the First Fleet brought to Australia in 1788. They grow well here. In fact, several pumpkin varieties have been developed in Australia that love our hot summers, such as Queensland Blue (a greyish blue, ribbed and very hard pumpkin), and Jarrahdale.

For a fancy gourd, look up a picture of a Turk’s Turban pumpkin.

Did you know?

The first wild gourds come from Africa and seem to have reached Europe and Asia by floating across the sea.

People have been using dried gourds as containers for thousands of years. Australian gourds such as the Giant Bottle gourd are scooped out and dried, and make a collecting pot or container for water.

They were used for toys, too – such as a spinning top made by Aboriginal people of Cape York that you can see in the Australian Museum.

Australian Museum – Indigenous spinning top from Cape York.

Growing Tips

The best pumpkins seem to sprout from the compost. The reason is simple: all squash are ‘heavy feeders’ which means they stock up at the all-you-can-eat soil buffet and chow down on organic matter. And the place organic matter is thickest? The compost heap. Whether you let your pumpkins take over the compost, or you carefully transplant them somewhere else, is up to you.

Try this!

Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) are a delicious snack. If you buy a whole pumpkin, or grow your own, why not eat the seeds, too?

Soak the seeds in water for a couple of hours to help free them from the pumpkin flesh and strings. Then dry them overnight on paper towels on a plate. When fully dry, rub them between the palms of your (clean) hands. Translucent papery skins should come off.

With a helpful adult handy, toss the dried seeds in a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake in the oven at 180˚C for about 10 minutes. Shake the tray and bake again if needed. They should be crisp and a little bit golden. If they are too chewy, dry them for a couple more days and bake again.

Check out our delicious recipes using pumpkin

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