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Extreme pumpkining

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Days are cold and dark. First rebellious step is to celebrate Hallowe'en with LOTS of carved pumpkins. Went to Fiesta Farms to get the ultimate pumpkins to carve. For the top one you need a forklift. Bought five.
14th Oct 2006, 16:14   | tags:,,

spongevid says:

I've never seen a huge pumpkin here, compared to the size of some of those in the picture!

14th Oct 2006, 16:15

swamprose says:

Dino, who runs the pumpkin operation, says he sells about five of these each Hallowe'en. Extreme pumpkin carving.

14th Oct 2006, 16:20

Jigalong says:

Pumpkins by the pallet load. Dino sure knows his pumpkins and probably a few recipes as well.

Happy carving. (Did you buy 5 pumpkins that needed the forklift?)

14th Oct 2006, 17:16

ouch says:

wow thats a lot of pie!

its 19 degrees C here today, could hit 20 tomorrow

daren't book a skiing holiday...

14th Oct 2006, 18:06

woooohooooooah!!!!!! that's AWESOME!!!

14th Oct 2006, 18:07

swamprose says:

no pie. these are not pie pumpkins. Pumpkins here are for carving a face on, sticking a candle inside, and putting outside on Hallowe'en night, or before...and for kids to smash in the street when it is all over. ancient customs.

14th Oct 2006, 18:08

Steph says:

You have to blog the results of the mammoth pumpkin carving session!!

I want to carve a pumpkin I suck at it!! Might just give it ago again this year and blog the disaster!!

14th Oct 2006, 18:08

Puddlepuff says:

Those are some smashing pumpkins!!!

WouW, that would be a great name for a band,... hmmm

14th Oct 2006, 18:13

swamprose says:

I stick to the old triangle eyes, easy to carve stuff. However, pumpkin carving has become an art for some people. Hope to find some of the more extraordinary efforts to blog.

Steph, the good doctor M. has a long pumpkin carving career, right? He NEEDS to carve a pumpkin. And nice one on that misty morning shot.

14th Oct 2006, 18:14

Steph says:

Better get Goonflower onto the Dr Ms carving career, I'm sure she can persuade him to partake in halloween fun..or we can talk her intoi talkming him into it!!! ;-)

And thank you I'm glad it got a highlight as it was taken at 8am the morning after I'd been to the Imogen gig in Birmingham after being rudely woken by a phone call off my manager telling me to get my ass into work!!

14th Oct 2006, 18:18

nige says:

brilliant. loving the colours :)

14th Oct 2006, 18:58

jesson says:

Hey Ouch,

Is 19-20 degrees hot or cold? Yesterday it was 39C in Sydney- bloody hot! Cooked all the weeds in the grass and nearly totalled most of the inhabitants too.

Swamprose.... love the pumpkins... we don't do Hallowe'en in Australia (officially anyway) and never get to see pumpkins this size- and soooo many in one place. Would love to see the rest of the festivities blogged, please, please! :-) Might be a dumb question but how do you get a pumpkin that big home? Delivery service????

15th Oct 2006, 06:12

paintist says:

I bought a pumpkin...but I am going to eat ours....soup I think :-)...hope you find some amazing carved ones to blog :-)

15th Oct 2006, 07:59

Caine says:

Ooooooh pumpkins. Gotta get pumpkins. Hallowe'en is my fave holiday. The last two years I did some intricate carving. I looked through carving patterns on the net. They came out great. :D Fab shots.

15th Oct 2006, 17:02

Euphro says:

Wow, fantastic! :D

15th Oct 2006, 17:11

I wouldn't call the pumpkin thing an ancient tradition by any means. When I was a child in the North of England we used to carve Turnips, far more satanic vegetables with their wrinkly purple skin!

15th Oct 2006, 18:07

Wow! Pumpkin City! It looks amazing! Certainly don't do halloween by halves in North America eh? :D

Cant wait to get one to carve, I really like pumpkin lanterns, never did them as a child...only did trick or treating.

Fab pics, especially like the bottom one, its like a pumpkin ball-pool! (except that would probably hurt!)

16th Oct 2006, 15:07

factotum says:

from this morning's New York Times online


October 24, 2006

Op-Ed Contributor

Out of Our Gourds

San Marcos, Tex.

THIS time of the year, the windows of America are beginning to be dotted with carefully carved jack-o’-lanterns, but in a week or so, the streets will be splotched with pumpkin guts. Orange gourds will fly from car windows, fall from apartment balconies, career like cannon fire from the arms of pranksters craving the odd satisfaction of that dull thud.

There are, to be sure, more productive ways to deploy a Halloween pumpkin. Post-holiday, composting is a noble option. A pumpkin grower in Wisconsin once turned a 500-pound Atlantic Giant into a boat.

But what we almost certainly won’t do is eat it. First cultivated more than 10,000 years ago in Mexico, cucurbitaceae were mainstays of the Native American diet. If for no other reason than its status as one of America’s oldest cultivated crops, an honest pumpkin deserves our reverence.

The current batches that will soon litter the pavement, however, are for the most part irreverent fabrications, cheap replicas inflated for the carving knife. Food in name only, they’re a culinary trick without the treat. For those of us who value America’s culinary past, smashing a generic pumpkin is more of a moral obligation than an act of vandalism.

During the colonial era, the pumpkin was just one squash among dozens, a vine-ripening vegetable unmarked by a distinctive color, size or shape. Native Americans grew it to be boiled, roasted and baked. They routinely prepared pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin porridge, pumpkin stew and even pumpkin jerky.

Europeans readily incorporated the pumpkin into their own diet. Peter Kalm, a Swede visiting colonial America, wrote approvingly about “pumpkins of several kinds, oblong, round, flat or compressed, crook-necked, small, etc.” He noted in his journal — on, coincidentally, Oct. 31, 1749 — how Europeans living in America cut them through the middle, take out the seeds, put the halves together again, and roast them in an oven, adding that “some butter is put in while they are warm.”

Sounds tasty. But one would be ill advised to follow Kalm’s recipe with the pumpkins now grown on commercial farms. The most popular pumpkins today are grown to be porch décor rather than pie filling. They dominate the industry because of their durability, uniform size (about 15 pounds), orange color, wart-less texture and oval shape. Chances are good that the specimen you’re displaying goes by the name of Trick or Treat, Magic Lantern, or Jumpin’ Jack. Chances are equally good that its flesh is bitter and stringy.

In contrast, pumpkins grown in the 19th and early 20th centuries — the hybridized descendants of those cultivated by Native Americans — were soft, rich and buttery. They came in numerous colors, shapes and sizes and were destined for the roasting pan.

The Tennessee Sweet Potato pumpkin looked more like a pear than a modern pumpkin and, as its name implies, was baked and eaten like the sweet potato. The Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin, first introduced in 1893, became so popular for pies that it posed a fresh challenge to the canned stuff. These pumpkin varieties, and scores of others, were once the most flavorful vegetables in the American diet.

Fortunately, the edible pumpkin is not completely lost. While akin to endangered species, heirloom seeds are only a few mouse clicks and a credit card number away. By growing heirloom pumpkins, you can have your jack-o’-lantern and eat it too. More immediately, you can search out heirloom pumpkins at some farmers’ markets.

Of course, advocating a shift in any holiday tradition seems like a futile exercise in a nation that (perhaps because we’re so young) takes its traditions rather seriously. But it’s not as if there’s much of a Halloween tradition to violate. Halloween is relatively new to America. The Irish brought the holiday to the United States in the 1840’s (and used turnips as jack-o-lanterns). But Halloween didn’t become profitable enough for commercial growers to produce decorative pumpkins until the suburbanized 1950’s.

Edible pumpkins were driven near extinction in the early 1970’s when a farmer named Jack Howden started to mass produce a firm, deep orange, rotund pumpkin endowed with thick vines to create a fat handle to hold while carving. The $5 billion a year industry that developed around Howden’s inedible creation is, historically speaking, still in its infancy.

And thus the “tradition” is ripe for improvement. Next year, let’s do something not so different. Let’s replace a fake pumpkin with a real one. The face you carve into it might be more distorted, and it might cost a bit more, but there will finally be a credible reason not to smash the thing at the end of the evening. And most important, as Peter Kalm observed back in 1749, we could once again split it open, roast it, add butter and remind ourselves that some traditions — like cultivating vegetables to eat — should never be destroyed.

James E. McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University at San Marcos, is the author of “A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America.”
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

24th Oct 2006, 13:13

Sounds good but would it be edible after a few days in the window with a candle in it? I'm all for eating pumkin and squash, I love it, but it seems to make sense to use inedible ones for lanterns and then compost them AND bring back the full range of squash varieties for chowing :)

I suppose it would be possible to use a new edible pumpkin lantern every night and then cook it the next day so it doesn't deteriorate too much ...

26th Oct 2006, 11:29

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