Pick the pumpkin, or let the pumpkin pick you


Tara Anastasoff

Could this really be the perfect pumpkin?

Jake Pagnotto, Reporter, Photographer

Early societies saw symbolism and a spiritual significance in round objects, including rocks, seeds, and pumpkins. Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns remains a popular Halloween tradition that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Not until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered that the pumpkin remained as a Halloween symbol did jack-o-lanterns become widely used in the United States.

Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, taking their place on Earth 7,500 years ago. To ensure that shoppers pick the freshest pumpkin, they should turn the fruit over and place pressure on the bottom with their thumbs. Choose a pumpkin with a solidly attached stem to ensure that the stem will not break, causing the pumpkin to slip out of one’s hands.  Even though most people do not end up finding the best pumpkin, others believe the best pumpkin exists. However, pumpkin picking continues to serve as a fun seasonal activity for young children and adults. The hunter does not find the pumpkin, the pumpkin finds the hunter.

Pumpkin picking serves as a traditional fall activity that people in Australia, Belgium, and China participate in. Pumpkins make for spooky house decorations for visitors and adds character to a home.

To preserve the life of a pumpkin, one can soak the pumpkin in a bleach and water solution to keep it from rotting. A pumpkin can typically last up to 12 weeks if it stays uncut. However, jack-o-lanterns can only last up to 10 weeks because the holes allow air to circulate through the pumpkin, causing it to mold and smell.

Pumpkins also serve as a tasty ingredient for fun desserts such as pie, rolls, and torte. While a number of desserts made from pumpkin meat taste delicious, pumpkin seeds can also serve as a healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds can last up to a year and should remain stored in an airtight container. Pumpkin seeds pack a nutritional punch by preventing chronic disease. These seeds contain phytosterols. They possess high amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc. Pumpkin seeds help with dietary deficiencies and other various medical conditions. They also benefit the heart, liver, immune system, and even help fight diabetes, and offer unique benefits for health involving prostate and relief of menopause symptoms as well.

Pumpkins and pumpkin carving will hopefully continue to stay a Halloween staple and a fun-filled, fantastic tradition for kids and young adults to enjoy.

Not only do they adorn the porches of houses, they also provide multiple health benefits.