Halloween 2016 netted retail industries approximately $8.6 billion (CNN). Millions more may be factored into the season when cafes and grocers market many items labeled as “pumpkin spice.” It’s impossible to mention Halloween without invoking images of costumes, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, pumpkin smashing, witches, black cats, etc. Halloween is such a symbolic and long-standing holiday in American culture that it is worth serious consideration by historians, anthropologists, and students of folk-lore. It is the product of the migration of Western Europeans and a fusion of their traditional practices on this continent. Although it is such a historically rich festival, how is it that one of the longest-standing crafts affiliated with All Hallows Eve is that of pumpkin carving? When all is said and done, it seems a tad silly to carve a scary face into a vegetable. Patterns range from happy to scary, from eccentric to mainstream, the patterns reflecting both the skill and the whims of the carver. Why and how did this tradition of pumpkin carving emerge? That annual pilgrimage to a country-side pumpkin patch in order to select the perfect squash canvas? The answer lies with the development of Halloween as an American holiday.
As we head toward the end of summer and the hot weather garden crops arrive, roll up your sleeves and get canning! Canning is a process recommended to preserve the longevity of your garden vegetables and fruits, so they may be used during the cold winter months. It also fosters a sense of americana self-sufficiency, and acts as an industrious hobby with an end-product you may eat for months to come.