The History of a Pumpkin: Decor, Dessert & Drinks

pumpkin: noun–a large, edible, orange-yellow fruit borne by a coarse vine. Of the gourd family.
It’s hot. The air conditioner blows day and night, and you still can’t stop sweating. And then, in one gust, fall blows in with changing leaves and shorter days. You pull out your jeans and sweatshirts. You stock up on hot chocolate and apples from the orchard.

And pumpkins spring up everywhere—on doorsteps, porch swings, front yards…and in every dessert, cocktail, and entree you can name.

The history of this popular autumn fruit dates back many years…

Decor:

The idea of putting light inside the pumpkin actually came from the tradition of Irish and Scottish of placing light inside carved turnips and potatoes and carrying them in Celtic celebrations. The English used beets!

So what did they do for light, you ask? They used to light lumps of coal on fire to put inside the vegetables. Of course, now we use tea lights and candles, which sure smell a lot nicer!

{Image of DIY pumpkin lights via RevelBlog.com}

Or, make your own glitter pumpkin!

Dessert (and the history of pumpkin pie):

{Recipe and image via browneyedbaker}

Early Native American farmers roasted pumpkin strips over campfires and used them as a food source through the long, cold winters. Pumpkin seeds were eaten and also used as medicine. Dried pumpkin could be stored and ground into flour. We see pumpkins being served by the pilgrims at the second Thanksgiving celebration in the New World, although it wasn’t a perfectly sliced piece of pumpkin pie like we see in today’s movies.

In fact, what the early Pilgrims would do is cut the top off of a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and fill the inside with cream, honey, eggs and spices. They would then place the top back on and bury the pumpkin in the hot ashes of a cooking fire. When it was finished, they brought the pumpkin to the table and scooped out the filling along with the cooked flesh of the shell, which functioned as a “crust” of sorts. (Info via)

Nowadays we buy canned pumpkin in the case load, cook pumpkin seeds, and make pumpkin-spiced everything. The good news is, pumpkins are good for you! They are low in calories and high in fiber. The seeds specifically are high in protein, iron, and B vitamins.

So get cooking! Pumpkin soup, perhaps? Or how about pumpkin coffee cake?

P.S. Don’t miss this recipe for homemade pumpkin butter.

Drinks:

{Pumpkin Pie Martini via Hostess with the Mostess}

Sure, you could buy yourself an expensive pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks (who doesn’t love those?), but this fall season, why not try mixing up a few festive cocktails like this recipe for pumpkin pie martini? I’m sure the early Pilgrims didn’t think of that!

So as the wind changes and the geese fly south for the winter, make sure you find a way to use a pumpkin this fall. Whether for home decor, delicious cocktails, or to whip up a creamy pumpkin dessert.

What pumpkin ideas have you found lately? Have you made a pumpkin pie yet this year?