Once upon a time, as creepy celtic legend has it, a drunk was at a bar with the devil and he made a wager which the devil lost (he wanted out of the beer tab, and he tricked the devil into paying).
Well, we all know when we make a deal with the devil, no good can come of it, and the drunk, known as Stingy Jack, was banned from both heaven and hell when his time came…doomed to wander in darkness with only a hollowed out turnip (used as a lantern) to light his way.
Poor Stingy Jack.
And that, my dears, is why we all carve pumpkins at the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. Making the Lanterns of Jack keeps the devil at bay, and gives Stingy Jack props for getting the best of ol’ Lucifer while drinking at the bar.
But you can also use your carved turnips, gourds and pumpkins to bring luck, prosperity and health throughout the year as well, by sprinkling the insides of your carved lanterns with herbs and oils before setting them out to welcome little ghosts and goblins to your door.
Liberally rubbing allspice throughout your lantern will bring luck and prosperity.
Throwing in some cardamom seeds will perk up your lust/love life, or draw a new lover to your door.
Nutmeg will aid your intuition…and bring peaceful (and sometimes prophetic) dreams.
Orange peel will bring happiness and a sense of well being. It will also bring more beauty into your life.
Cloves will dispatch troublesome neighbors, stalkers, old boyfriends/girlfriends, and keep gossips and other ugly people away from you. They will also help you conquer bothersome habits.
Ginger will bring all kinds of good stuff to your way, from love to health to happiness.
And after carving, dressing and lighting your pumpkins, here is a FABULOUS recipe for eating those super addictive and healthy roasted pumpkin seeds (if you have the patience to clean them thoroughly of the pumpkin guts before popping them in the oven).
Clean the seeds thoroughly, throw them into a pot of salted, boiling water, then reduce the water to a simmer and let the seeds cook for about 10 minutes. Next, drain the water, pat them fairly dry with a paper towel, then toss them with olive oil and sea salt. Spread them in a pan (don’t overlap them) and pop them into a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, give them a stir and re-separate them…then pop them back into the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the shells are JUST a golden color. When you remove them the first time to stir them, cool a seed and pop it open to make sure the insides aren’t getting too done, because the insides can burn even if the outsides look fine. When they’re finished roasting, just shake on a little more sea salt (or other flavorings) and enjoy!
As a side note, pumpkin seeds are packed with iron, magnesium, zinc, fiber, protein and that wonderful, natural drug tryptophan (the stuff in turkey meat that makes you sleepy)…so they’re great for a bedtime snack.
And that’s how to get the most from your Jack ‘o Lanterns this Samhain season!