On the eve of the most frightening and gloomy holiday of the year – Halloween, would like to mention its main attribute – the pumpkin. Every year, on October 31, people make “Jack-o’-lantern” – a pumpkin with a frightening grimace. This tradition is deeply rooted in the Celtic celebration of the end of the harvest, Samhain, on this day the Celts (the people of Northern Ireland and Scotland in our time) put pumpkins with candles before the doorstep to scare away evil spirits. Later, a legend appeared about the drunkard Jack, who managed to deceive Satan, and bargain for himself several years of life, although he soon died. But since he was not allowed to go to heaven, and he too was not needed in hell, Jack had no choice but to wait for the day of judgment. Finally, having received a candle from Satan as a gift, Jack set off on a journey, putting the candle in a pumpkin, and thus illuminating his way. Thus, the Celtic custom of cutting pumpkin-lanterns acquired another meaning – helping restless souls find their way to purgatory.
Botanical features of pumpkin
(Cucurbita pepo), family – Cucurbitaceae
A pumpkin is an annual, in some cases a perennial, herbaceous plant that spreads along the ground and has large lobed-fuzzy leaves. Pumpkin fruit has a round, oval or flattened shape, and color varies from pale orange to dark green. Decorative varieties have a altogether bizarre shapes, colors and sizes. The largest pumpkin ever recorded is a 200 kg fruit. But the usual pumpkin weighs no more than 10 kg. You can keep a pumpkin for a long time and without special storage conditions, while it retains its beneficial properties and does not lose taste.
Benefits of pumpkin
The benefits of pumpkin make up legends. It is not only a dietary product, but also has a beneficial effect on the digestive process in general. For gastritis and stomach ulcers, doctors recommend adding pumpkin to the diet. If you need to clean the liver – one fasting day on a raw pumpkin in the proportions of 500g divided into 5 – 6 receptions is enough. Carotenoid content in the fetus provides protection against retinal damage. Pumpkin lovers will never suffer from acid-base imbalance in the body, and from belching and heartburn – 2 weeks of regular use. Pumpkin has the ability to remove excess fluid from the body – good news for fans of seasoned and salty foods.
The benefit of pumpkin for men: In addition to the above, the pumpkin contains a man’s set of vitamins – the quality of sperm improves, the prevention of prostatitis.
The benefit of pumpkin for women: If you want to lose weight, add to your diet pumpkin, the product is completely dietary, and charges the necessary complex of vitamins to keep the body in good shape. Vitamins E and A stop the aging process, as well as strengthen hair and nails. The use of pumpkin is recommended to maintain the health of the mammary glands – the risk of the formation of fibrocystic mastopathy is 30% lower compared to women who do not use pumpkin.
- Vitamin E – 0.4 mg;
- Vitamin C – 8 mg;
- Vitamin B6 – 0.13 mg;
- Vitamin B9 – 14 micrograms;
- Vitamin PP – 0.7 g;
- Beta-carotene – 1500 mcg;
- Potassium – 204 mg;
- Calcium and phosphorus – 25 mg;
- Chlorine – 19 mg;
- Copper and sulfur – 18 mg;
- Magnesium – 14 mg;
- Fluorine – 86 mcg.
Indications for use: Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Diseases of the organs of vision.
Contraindications: Obesity, diabetes, gallstone disease.
How to choose the ripe pumpkin
When choosing a pumpkin, be guided by the appearance – dry stem and hard skin. The water content is proportional to the size of the fruit, as is the length of the fiber. If you knock on the pumpkin, you hear a deaf sound – you look on a ripe fruit. If you get a part of a pumpkin, and it is impossible to evaluate its appearance – be guided by the color of the pulp and seeds. Indicator of maturity of the fruit – bright orange color of the pulp, seeds are large and dry.
Do not buy fruits with intermittent or wavy lines – this means that the pumpkin is full of nitrates. If you notice rot, and pressing a finger, left a dent – the fruit began to decompose.
Pumpkin and Halloween. Cutting out “Jack-O’-Lantern”
Step 1. Choose the most proportional, round pumpkin. Wash away dirt and wipe.
Step 2. Next, cut a round hole for future lighting. If you want to put a candle in the pumpkin – cut a hole in the middle at the top, if you use artificial light, then at the bottom.
Step 3. Using a spoon or scraper, remove the inside of the pumpkin. – seeds and pulp. In the future, seeds and pulp can be used to make pumpkin cookies.
Step 4. We draw a scary face on paper, or use a ready-made template. We put on the template on the pumpkin (you can even fix it with tape so that the drawing does not move). With an awl or thick needle, gently pierce the holes along the contour of the eyes, mouth and nose with of grimace.
Step 5. Now we are going through the usual kitchen knife along the contours, strictly following the punctured holes.
Step 6. And finally choose lighting. If you decide to make artificial lighting – wrap a garland around the jar, and put a pumpkin on top, connecting the garland to the outlet. If you are for naturalism, then put a candle of medium size in a pumpkin, light it, and leave the top open for air to flow.
Voila! “Jack-o’-lantern” is ready, and now restless souls will definitely find their way into purgatory!