Put the orange imposter down. It's time to embrace an older tradition

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Pumpkins are over. O.V.E.R.

 

Not because they've fallen out of favour but because there's a huge, great, whacking shortage. You might not think it when you see them piled up in the shops but trust us, they are not as plentiful as normal.

 

August's torrential rain (grim) halved the harvest for Lincolnshire growers Barfoots. Guy Poskitt, another grower and chair of the horticulture board of the National Farmers’ Union Guy, says that a lack of summer sun over his North Yorkshire farm stopped his crop from being a good one. 

 

Ultimately, the orange orbs are a sub-tropical squash. The United Kingdom, you may have noticed, is not a sub-tropical climate. Go figure. 

 

Anyway, pumpkins are imposters. The original jack-o-lanterns hail from Irish folklore and were actually made from turnips.

 

The tale – that a man named Jack tricked the devil and was sentenced to roam earth for eternity with a burning coal inside of a carved-out turnip to light his way – resulted in the annual event of people carving faces into the veg to scare him and evil spirits away. This was called "Samhain", the traditional Gaelic version of Halloween.

 

 

When the Irish started to migrate to the US, they took the idea along with them. But when they got there, they discovered the pumpkin and its easier-to-cut flesh.

 

Cue the mass Americanisation of Britain some years later and, hey presto: we all go along with this new way of doing things.

 

So let's take it back to the old school method. Simply scoop out the inside of a round turnip just as you would a pumpkin, before stencilling on your design and cutting that too. They can be a little tough, so make sure you've got a sharp knife (and be careful). 

 

Here's some inspiration to get you started. 

 

 

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