CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

October 25, 2010

Orange is so Passe—Go for the White Pumpkin!


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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ORANGE IS SO PASSE—GO FOR THE WHITE PUMPKIN!

New England Discovers the White Pumpkin

Ligonier, PA, Discovered it First

      Orange is so…yesterday.

     Here in New England, white pumpkins, once a novelty, are becoming increasingly common…*

     Hmmm…I never thought I’d say this, being a New Englander, but Green Mead Farm in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, was ahead of the race, by seven years, at the time I wrote an article for the Ligonier-Latrobe section** of the Tribune-Review about the lunar pumpkin.

     My husband Monte had just retired. By July 1, 2003, we were starting our full-time life in Laurel Mountain Borough, about five miles from the Green Mead Farm in Ligonier Township farm in Ligonier Township. By the end of July we on the road to New England for three-month vacation that would include much genealogy/writing research.

     My daughter Sandra had discovered the white orb a couple of years earlier. In 2002, she took me on a pumpkin excursion with her then six year old daughter, and so I had my first view of the Lunar Pumpkin. I had made arrangements to write the news article before we left

      The farm is a growing mecca for people seeking the unusual—an unbelievable, spooky white pumpkin… I wrote.**

     Meanwhile, Beckius linked to a Martha Stewart Living picture of a white pumpkin, noting that they’re elegant unadorned as a table centerpiece. The picture was taken in 2003. She’s always ahead of the curve! Kim Knox Beckius, editor of the About.Com: New England Travel e-mail newsletter, wrote, noting that these intriguing white orbs are all the rage when it comes to chic autumn decorating.*

     I first photographed a white pumpkin in 2002 in Ligonier, and gathered more photographs in Maine at a pumpkin stand and in Rhode Island at a grocery store.

     I purchased my first ones in 2002. Beckius wrote I bought my first white pumpkin… in October of 2008.*

     They are an unbelievable, spooky white pumpkin to grace their Halloween or Fall decorations, I wrote.**

     Much of my article compared the differences between orange and white pumpkins:

  • color
  • carving, and
  • culinary

COLOR

     According to Rick Cairns, owner of the Ligonier Township farm, the Lunar pumpkin differs little from the orange pumpkin except for its color. 

     “They are more similar than different,” he said. “Ripeness is determined by color. They are pretty much pure white—not greenish. If they mature too much they almost get a bluish tint.”

CARVING

     They make ghostly jack-o-lanterns. In 2002 I gathered a group of boys in Connellsville, Pennsylvania (where we lived before Monte retired). I took pictures of them carving my cache of white pumpkins—it was great fun.

     Sixteen-year old Jared, eleven-year old Dylan, and nine-year old Logan attempted to transform a Lunar pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern. The younger brothers waited impatiently for their turn while Jared struggled to cut the top off the pumpkin. His success revealed plentiful seeds and orange meat. His next challenge, cutting a ghost shape from the side of the pumpkin, required diligence.

     The tough skin was too much for Dylan and Logan. After attempting to cut a traditional face on the back of the pumpkin, they said it was much more difficult to create a Halloween masterpiece from the Lunar pumpkin than from the orange pumpkin. They handed their cutting tools to Jared, who completed the cutting.**

 CULINARY

    According to Beckius White pumpkin can also be substituted for orange pumpkin in many recipes, whether you’re baking pumpkin pie or concocting a pumpkin soup. The texture and taste of the Lumina variety is excellent for baking. Try using a hollowed out white pumpkin as an attractive serving tureen.*

      And according to Betty Cairns, Lunar pumpkins rival traditional pumpkins in taste. She uses them for cookies and brownies, and noted that pumpkin meat is not very stringy. It is but good and solid.**

     Grace Cairns, her late mother-in-law, made them into bread squares and holiday pies…I do like to cook with pumpkin. I use the Lunar pumpkin in all my pumpkin pies. There’s not really a different taste…They have a better texture—they’re creamier and easier to mash and cook… she said, conceding that the skin is thicker than that on the orange pumpkins and  She usually asks her husband Bud Cairns to help slice the pumpkin. She noted that The riper they are the easier they are to cut…I cut them into quarters and put them in the microwave and scrape the meat from the skins.**

     Monte agrees with the Cairn family’s conclusions. He took over making pumpkin pies when I didn’t make many because I don’t like them. While in his first pastorate in New Castle (PA) he made a pumpkin pie for each family in his congregation. By the time he was in his third assignment at Wesley United Methodist Church in Connellsville, he was making pumpkin pies for the church dinners, and had the women of the church involved in the baking.

     We now have Lunar pumpkin pies for our Thanksgiving dinners, a conversation piece. White pumpkins adorn our home, too. The orange and white contrast adds a festive look to our decorations.

     Reading Beckius’ article makes me feel like a trailblazer, someone on the cutting edge. I even beat out Martha Stewart, although I didn’t consider myself in a race.

     It will be sad when white pumpkins like albino pumpkin, ghost pumpkin, Snowball, Casper, Lumina, Baby Boo, Cotton Candy Pumpkin* gain in popularity so as lose its uniqueness. As it assuredly will.

SOURCES

*www.http://gonewengland.about.com/od/halloween/g/white-pumpkin.htm  

**Notes for Tribune-Review article, October 2003

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Halloween Night

A Jack-O-Lantern Interview

Ghostly white pumpkins of the Lunar variety

Interviewing Casper the Friendly Ghost

THE HAUNTED CABIN IN THE WOODS

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1 Comment »

  1. Carolyn, do you have any pictures of a white pumpkin decorated with black paint? I’d love to see one. I think it would look great!!

    Lois

    Comment by Lois — November 26, 2010 @ 10:31 pm | Reply


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