Pumpkin

Pumpkins Pumpkin attached to a stalk

A pumpkin is a vegetable, most commonly orange in colour when ripe, that grows as a fruit (gourd) from a trailing vine of the genus Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae). Cultivated in North America, continental Europe, as well as in English cottage gardens, Cucurbita varieties include Curcurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, or Cucurbita moschata — all plants native to the Western hemisphere. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape. The rind is smooth and very variable in colour. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg) but smaller varieties are in vogue for garden culture. Pumpkins are a popular food, with their innards commonly eaten cooked and served in dishes such as pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are traditionally used to carve Jack-o'-lanterns for use as part of Halloween celebrations.

Pumpkins and squashes

Pumpkins on sale at a Caribbean market

The name "squash" is applied in America to this and other species of the genus Cucurbita. The name is adapted from an American Indian word (see L. H. Bailey, Cyclopaedia of American Horticulture, for a fuller account of the squashes).

Summer squashes, like pumpkins, are mostly varieties of Cucurbita pepo; if picked while immature they are eaten as summer squash or marrow, but if left to mature on the vine will form a hard fruit like winter squash. Winter squashes are either C. maxima or C. moschata, and are not eaten in immature form. The varieties of pumpkins and squashes are numerous and great variety in size and shape; it is difficult to keep them pure if various kinds are grown together, but the true squashes (C. maxima) do not hybridize with the true pumpkin (C. pepo) species. If carefully handled to avoid cracking of the skin, and kept dry and fairly warm, winter squashes may be kept for months.

Wagon full of pumpkins

Studies by the Royal Military College of Canada show promise for pumpkins and other members of the Cucurbita pepo family to be viable candidates for DDT phytoremediation. (see Scientific American, October 25, 2004)

Cultivation

Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably due to pesticide sensitivity, and most commercial plantings are pollinated by honeybees today. One hive per acre (4,000 m² per hive) is recommended by the US Department of Agriculture. Gardeners with a shortage of bees, however, often have to hand pollinate.

Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development. Often there is an opportunistic fungus that the gardener blames for the abortion, but the solution to this problem of abortion tends to be better pollination rather than fungicide.

Placing honeybees for pumpkin pollination Mohawk Valley, NY

Pumpkins are grown today in the US more for decoration than for food, and popular contests continually lead growers to vie for the world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown. Growers have many techniques, often secretive, including hand pollination, removal from the vines of all but one pumpkin, and injection of fertilizer or even milk directly into the vines with a hypodermic needle.

Cooking

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked and roasted, or made into various kinds of pie, alone or mixed with other fruit; while small and green it may be eaten in the same way as the vegetable marrow.

Wikibooks Cookbook has more about this subject: Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Mashed pumpkin


Chunking

Pumpkin chunking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. Some pumpkin chunkers grow special varieties of pumpkin, which are bred and grown under special conditions intended to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving being thrown.

Pumpkin seeds

The hulless or semi-hulless seeds of pumpkins are eaten as a snack, similar to the sunflower seed. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. In Latin America these are often greenish in color and known as pepitas. One of the typical pumpkin products of Austria is pumpkin seed oil.

Pumpkin trivia

  • The pumpkin is related to the cucumber.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,469 lb (666 kg). Raised by Larry Checkon from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania in 2005, it is technically a "squash," Cucurbita maxima, and was of the public variety "Atlantic Giant," which is the "giant" variety - culminated from the simple hubbard squash by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the mid 1800's.
  • Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene. These nutrients turn to vitamin A in the body.
  • Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by Irish immigrants. All Hallows Eve on 31 October marked the end of the old Celtic calendar year, and on that night hollowed-out turnips, beets and rutabagas with a candle inside were placed on windowsills and porches to welcome home spirits of deceased ancestors and ward off evil spirits and a restless soul called "Stingy Jack," hence the name "Jack-o'-lantern".
  • The town of Keene, New Hampshire currently holds the world record for the most lit pumpkins in one location.
  • 90% of all pumpkins sold in the United States are used for Jack-o'-lanterns.
  • Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state in the United States.
  • Pumpkins were among the first foods from the "New World" adopted in Europe, probably due to a European cousin: Lagenaria
  • "Pumpkin" is sometimes used as an affectionate term, often referring to one's significant other. For example: "I love you, Pumpkin!"

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One of the typical pumpkin products of Austria is pumpkin seed oil. Many Jewish families have also had "family Purims" throughout the centuries, celebrated at home, whereby they celebrate their escape from persecution, an accident, or any other type of misfortune. In Latin America these are often greenish in color and known as pepitas. According to some sources, the influential Rabbi Moses Sofer (the Hatam Sofer), who was born in Frankfurt, celebrated Purim Vintz every year, even when rabbi in Pressburg. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. This commemorates the Fettmilch uprising (1616-1620), in which one Vincenz Fettmilch attempted to exterminate the Jewish community [1]. The hulless or semi-hulless seeds of pumpkins are eaten as a snack, similar to the sunflower seed. The best known is Purim Vintz, traditionally celebrated in Frankfurt am Main, one week after the regular Purim.

Some pumpkin chunkers grow special varieties of pumpkin, which are bred and grown under special conditions intended to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving being thrown. Many cities have until recently had local "Purims", all commemorating the deliverance of the local community from a particular anti-semitic ruler or group. Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. Shushan Purim, is celebrated by those in Jerusalem the day after Purim. Pumpkin chunking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. Orah Hayyim, 697).
. 46b; comp.

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked and roasted, or made into various kinds of pie, alone or mixed with other fruit; while small and green it may be eaten in the same way as the vegetable marrow. i. Growers have many techniques, often secretive, including hand pollination, removal from the vines of all but one pumpkin, and injection of fertilizer or even milk directly into the vines with a hypodermic needle. The distinctions between the first and the second Purim in leap years are mentioned in the Mishnah (Meg. Pumpkins are grown today in the US more for decoration than for food, and popular contests continually lead growers to vie for the world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown. The respective days of the first Adar being then called Purim Katan ("Little Purim" in Hebrew), for which there have been set forth certain observances similar to those for Purim proper, with the exception of reading the Megillah, sending gifts to the poor, and fasting on the 13th of the month. Often there is an opportunistic fungus that the gardener blames for the abortion, but the solution to this problem of abortion tends to be better pollination rather than fungicide. In leap years on the Hebrew calendar, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar, but by the Karaites in the first month of Adar.

Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development. The fast on the 13th is still commonly observed; but when that date falls on a Sabbath, the fast is put back to Thursday, Friday being needed to prepare for the Sabbath and the following Purim festival. Gardeners with a shortage of bees, however, often have to hand pollinate. Some, however, used to fast three days in commemoration of the fasting of Esther; but as fasting was prohibited during the month of Nisan, the first and second Mondays and the Thursday following Purim were chosen. One hive per acre (4,000 m² per hive) is recommended by the US Department of Agriculture. 2a, "The 13th was the time of gathering", which gathering is explained to have had also the purpose of public prayer and fasting. Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably due to pesticide sensitivity, and most commercial plantings are pollinated by honeybees today. 18 and Meg.

(see Scientific American, October 25, 2004). ix. Studies by the Royal Military College of Canada show promise for pumpkins and other members of the Cucurbita pepo family to be viable candidates for DDT phytoremediation. The first who mentions it is Rabbi Aḥa of Shabḥa (8th cent.) in "She'eltot", iv.; and the reason there given for its institution is based on an arbitrary interpretation of Esth. If carefully handled to avoid cracking of the skin, and kept dry and fairly warm, winter squashes may be kept for months. The Fast of Esther, celebrated before Purim, on the 13th of Adar, is not an original part of the Purim celebration, nor was it later instituted "in commemoration of the fasting of Esther, Mordechai, and the people", since this fasting fell, according to rabbinical tradition, in the month of Nisan and lasted three days. pepo) species. This custom is no longer practiced.

maxima) do not hybridize with the true pumpkin (C. The Rabbis themselves, to avoid danger, tried to abolish these customs, often even calling the magistracy to their aid, as in London in 1783. The varieties of pumpkins and squashes are numerous and great variety in size and shape; it is difficult to keep them pure if various kinds are grown together, but the true squashes (C. 309, 317, and Cassel, l.c.). moschata, and are not eaten in immature form. ii. maxima or C. Schudt, l.c.

Winter squashes are either C. These customs often aroused the wrath of Christians, who interpreted them as a disguised attempt to ridicule Jesus and the cross; prohibitions were issued against these displays; e.g., under the reign of Honorius (395-423) and of Theodosius II (408-450; comp. Summer squashes, like pumpkins, are mostly varieties of Cucurbita pepo; if picked while immature they are eaten as summer squash or marrow, but if left to mature on the vine will form a hard fruit like winter squash. As soon as the reader began to read the Megillah, the house with all its occupants was set on fire to the enjoyment of the spectators. Bailey, Cyclopaedia of American Horticulture, for a fuller account of the squashes). The whole was then put on the almemar, where stood also the wax figures of Zeresh (Haman's wife) and two guards — one to her right and the other to her left — all attired in a flimsy manner and with pipes in their mouths. H. In Frankfurt am Main, Germany, it was customary to make a house of wax wherein the figures of Haman and his executioner, also of wax, were placed side by side.

The name is adapted from an American Indian word (see L. In Italy, Jewish children used to range themselves in rows, and pelt one another with nuts; while the adults rode through the streets with fir-branches in their hands, shouted, or blew trumpets round a doll representing Haman and which was finally burned with due solemnity at the stake. The name "squash" is applied in America to this and other species of the genus Cucurbita. As early as the fifth century, and especially in the Geonic period (9th and 10th centuries), it was a custom to burn Haman in effigy on Purim. . Some of them date from the Talmudic period. Pumpkins are traditionally used to carve Jack-o'-lanterns for use as part of Halloween celebrations. Outside the synagogue the pranks indulged in on Purim by both children and adults have been carried even to a greater extreme.

Pumpkins are a popular food, with their innards commonly eaten cooked and served in dishes such as pumpkin pie. In some congregations, people who do not dress up have to perform a forfeit, such as having to sing a song, or being squirted with a water pistol. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg) but smaller varieties are in vogue for garden culture. Jews are also encouraged to dress up, with many people dressing up as pop stars, animals or even nuns. The rind is smooth and very variable in colour. For example, many congregations will read the prayers in ways which would be considered sacrilegious on any other occasion during the year - for example, asking the congregation to have a race, where the prayers would be read as fast as possible, or singing some prayers to the tune of widely-known songs, which may even be Christian, to add to the stupidity. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape. Purim is also a time for other unusual goings-on.

Cultivated in North America, continental Europe, as well as in English cottage gardens, Cucurbita varieties include Curcurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, or Cucurbita moschata — all plants native to the Western hemisphere. The custom of using noisemakers in synagogue on Purim is now almost universal. A pumpkin is a vegetable, most commonly orange in colour when ripe, that grows as a fruit (gourd) from a trailing vine of the genus Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae). Some of the rabbis protested against these uproarious excesses, considering them a sinful disturbance of public worship, but did so in vain. For example: "I love you, Pumpkin!". For noisemaking, others used a noisy rattle, called "gragger" or "greggar" (from Polish grzégarz). "Pumpkin" is sometimes used as an affectionate term, often referring to one's significant other. Some wrote the name of Haman on the soles of their shoes, and at the mention of the name stamped with their feet as a sign of contempt.

Pumpkins were among the first foods from the "New World" adopted in Europe, probably due to a European cousin: Lagenaria. Ultimately, the stones fell into disuse, with the knocking alone remaining. Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state in the United States. 19) is explained to mean "even from wood and stones", the rabbis introduced the custom of writing the name of Haman, the offspring of Amalek, on two smooth stones and of knocking or rubbing them constantly until the name was blotted out. 90% of all pumpkins sold in the United States are used for Jack-o'-lanterns. xxv. The town of Keene, New Hampshire currently holds the world record for the most lit pumpkins in one location. In accordance with a passage in the Midrash, where the verse "Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek" (Deut.

All Hallows Eve on 31 October marked the end of the old Celtic calendar year, and on that night hollowed-out turnips, beets and rutabagas with a candle inside were placed on windowsills and porches to welcome home spirits of deceased ancestors and ward off evil spirits and a restless soul called "Stingy Jack," hence the name "Jack-o'-lantern". For example, during the public service in many congregations, when the reader of the Megillah mentions Haman or his sons, there is boisterous hissing, stamping, and rattling This practice traces its origin to French and German rabbis of the 13th century. Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by Irish immigrants. Indeed, Purim was an occasion on which much joyous license was permitted even within the walls of the synagogue itself. These nutrients turn to vitamin A in the body. This pastry's triangular shape is recognized as a symbol, representing the tri-cornered hat which Haman (Purim's chief villain) wore. Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene. These are flattish triangular pastries, with a pocket in the center, traditionally filled with a sweet poppy seed (or sometimes prune) based filling, but more recently made with almost any sweet filling, including fruit or chocolate.

Raised by Larry Checkon from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania in 2005, it is technically a "squash," Cucurbita maxima, and was of the public variety "Atlantic Giant," which is the "giant" variety - culminated from the simple hubbard squash by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the mid 1800's. During Purim, it is traditional to eat festive meals and to serve hamantaschen (taschen [pockets] of mon [poppy seed]). The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,469 lb (666 kg). A popular song is "Ani Purim". The pumpkin is related to the cucumber. For the children's sake certain verses from the Book of Esther have been sung in chorus on Purim. Mashed pumpkin. Purim songs have been introduced even into the synagogue.

Pumpkin pie. In Israel there are Purim parades, and men, women, boys and girls frolic publicly in costumes and masks, and indulge in all kinds of jollity. Pumpkin soup. The custom is still practiced today amongst religious Jews of all denominations, and among both religious and non-religious Israelis. Although some rigorous authorities issued prohibitions against this custom, the people did not heed them, and the more lenient view prevailed. He expresses the opinion that, since the purpose of the masquerade is only merrymaking, it should not be considered a transgression of the Biblical law regarding dress.

17, quoted by Moses Isserles on Orah Hayyim, 696:8. 1508 at Venice) in his Responsa, No. The first among Jewish authors to mention this custom is Judah Minz (d. From Italy, this custom spread over all countries where Jews lived, except perhaps the Orient.

The custom of masquerading on Purim was first introduced among the Italian Jews about the close of the fifteenth century under the influence of the Roman carnival. In remembrance of how God remained hidden throughout the Purim Miracle, Jews dress up on Purim and many hide their faces. Although Jews believe that everything turned out in the end for the best as a direct result of divine intervention (that is, a series of miracles), the Book of Esther lacks any mention of God's name and seemingly appears to have been nothing more than a result of natural occurrences. However, there is also an important concept of hester panim, or "hidden face," a reference to God's role in the Purim miracle.

Many commentaries state that Haman's daughter committed suicide after dumping the rotting contents of a trash bin on her father's head, thinking that he was Mordechai). Mistaken identity plays an important role in The Book of Esther, as Esther publically hid her cultural origins from the public, Haman was forced to lead Mordechai on horseback through the capital city Shushan (Haman had thought that the King would order Mordechai to lead Haman around, and this led to confusion among Haman's followers. Costumes and masks are worn to disguise the wearers' identities. Children in particular enjoy dressing up as the characters found in the Scroll of Esther, including King Ahasuerus, Queen Vashti, Queen Esther, Mordechai, and the evil Haman.

Dressing up in masks and costumes is one of the most entertaining customs of the Purim holiday. Some men dress in women's attire and vice versa. The traditional tunes of prayers sung in the synagogue are sometimes altered, always in deliberately humorous ways. Many kinds of merry-making and mockery have been indulged in on Purim, so that among the masses it has become almost a general rule that "on Purim everything is allowed", even transgressions of certain Biblical laws. The Rama effectively pushed a message of moderation, saying that one should only drink a little more that what one is used to drinking and he concludes with "Whether one drinks more or drinks less, the main thing is that his intention is for the sake of Heaven." The Rama encouraged merry-making, but total intoxication was condemned.

In response, some commentators like Moses Isserles (The Rama) who worried about the abuse of this rule, developed less literal ways to understand this invitation. While Jews have long been noted for a lack of alcohol abuse, drunkenness was licensed on this holiday. 7b) that one should drink on Purim until he can no longer distinguish "Cursed be Haman" from "Blessed be Mordechai", a saying which was codified in the authoritative code of Jewish law, the Shulkhan Arukh. The jovial character of the feast was illustrated in the saying of the Talmud (Meg.

Thus Ashkenazi Jews eat Hamantaschen and Hamanohren (in Italy, orrechi d'Aman), Kreppchen, Kindchen, etc. Jews developed special pastries for this holiday; cakes were shaped into special forms and were given names having some symbolic bearing on the historical events of Purim. Hence it was the rule to have at least one festive meal, called Seudat Purim, toward the evening of the 14th. The national rather than the religious character of the festival made it appear appropriate to celebrate the occasion by feasting.

In some congregations, it is customary to place a charity box in the vestibule of the synagogue. It was obligatory upon the poorest Jew, even on one who was himself dependent on charity, to give to other poor — at least to two people. No distinction was to be made among the poor; anyone who was willing to accept charity, even a non-Jew, was to be allowed to participate. In the synagogue, regular collections may be made on the festival, and the money is distributed among the needy.

Jews send gifts of food (called "Mishloach manot"), especially pastries, to one another, and Jews give charity to the poor. Over time, this became one of the most prominent features of the celebration of Purim. The Book of Esther prescribes "the sending of portions one to another, and gifts to the poor". The Bobov purimspiel is still performed annually, at midnight, inside the Bobov main synagogue in Brooklyn.

The Bobov Hassidic group has never ceased performing its Purimspiel. Because satire was deemed inappropriate for the synagogue itself, they were usually performed outdoors in its court. By the 18th century in eastern Romania and some other parts of Eastern Europe, Purim plays -- Purimspiels -- had evolved into broad-ranging satires with music and dance, precursors to Yiddish theater, for which the story of Esther was little more than a pretext: indeed, by the mid-19th century, some were even based on other stories, such as Joseph sold by his brothers, Daniel, or the Sacrifice of Isaac. Other writings (dramas, plays, etc.) intended for general edification, both in Hebrew and in other languages, have been composed as well.

These include a large number of hymns intended for the public service. Purim gave rise to many religious compositions, some of which were incorporated into the liturgy. 8-16, the story of the attack on the Jews by Amalek, the progenitor of Haman, is also to be read. xvii.

30b), Ex. According to the Mishnah (Meg. According to Jewish law the Megillah may be read in any language intelligible to the audience. It has been also customary since the time of the Geonim (early medieval era) to unroll the whole Megillah before reading it, in order to give it the appearance of an epistle.

26, 29) to the Book of Esther. ix. In some places, however, it is not chanted, but is read like a letter, because of the name "iggeret" (epistle) which is applied (Esth. The Megillah is read with a traditional chant differing from that used in the customary reading of the Torah.

3, which relate the origin of Mordechai and his triumph. 15-16, and x. 5, viii. The congregation was to recite aloud with the reader the verses ii.

7-10) in one breath, to indicate their simultaneous death. ix. For example, the reader is to pronounce the names of the ten sons of Haman (Esth. The Talmud added other provisions.

However, the Talmud, a later work, prescribed three benedictions before the reading and one benediction after the reading. In the Mishnah, the recitation of a benediction on the reading of the Megillah is not yet a universally recognized obligation. Further, he obliged women to attend the reading of the Megillah, inasmuch as it was a woman, Queen Esther, through whom the miraculous deliverance of the Jews was accomplished. Originally this enactment was for the 14th of Adar only; later, however, Rabbi Joshua ben Levi (3d cent.) prescribed that the Megillah should be read on the eve of Purim also.

2a) to the "Men of the Great Synod", of which Mordechai is reported to have been a member. The first religious ceremony ordained for the celebration of Purim is the reading of the Book of Esther (the "Megillah") in the synagogue, a regulation ascribed in the Talmud (Meg. The siddur (Jewish prayer book) has a special prayer to be said on this festival. The Book of Esther enjoins the annual celebration of the feast among the Jews on the 14th and 15th of Adar, commanding that they should "make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor".

5a; Maimonides, "Yad", Megillah). i. Purim has been held in high esteem by Judaism at all times; some have held that when all the prophetical and hagiographical works are forgotten, the Book of Esther will still be remembered, and, accordingly, the Feast of Purim will continue to be observed (Jerusalem Talmud, Meg. Accordingly, business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim, although in certain places restrictions have been imposed on work (Shulkhan Arukh, Orach Chayim, 696).

Like Hanukkah, Purim's status as a holiday is on a lesser level than those ordained holy by the Torah. . (In a small number of cities that were walled in ancient times, it is instead celebrated on the 15th.) As with all Jewish holidays, Purim begins at sundown on the previous day. Purim is celebrated annually on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar.

According to that book, the feast was instituted as a national one by the book's protagonists, Mordechai and Esther. Purim (פּוּרִים "Lots", Standard Hebrew Purim, Tiberian Hebrew Pûrîm: plural of פּוּר pûr "Lot", from Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Persian Jews from the plot of the evil Haman to exterminate them, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther.

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