Every fall, it is the “pumpkin season” that Germans love very much, and many places hold pumpkin-themed festivals. In the context of Western culture, pumpkins also have the symbolic meaning of a bumper harvest and happiness. The big pumpkins reflect people’s joy at harvest and their longing for a better life.
More than 200 pumpkins are grown in Germany
The origin of pumpkin is in Central and South America. It has a history of nearly 10,000 years and is one of the earliest cultivated plants in the world. It is said that Columbus’s fleet found pumpkins in Cuba, described them as “an important food for Indians and Aztecs”, and brought them all over the world as a nautical supply. In the 16th century, pumpkins were widely known in Europe and Asia, but in the 20th century, pumpkins were still mainly used as livestock feed and oil crops in Central Europe. It was only in recent years that people discovered that pumpkin has rich nutritional value and a variety of uses, this ancient crop began to become popular in Germany.
The pumpkin planting area in Germany is nearly 5,000 hectares, and the annual output of pumpkins is nearly 80,000 tons. There are about 800 pumpkin varieties in the world, and more than 200 varieties are grown in Germany, which are generally divided into two categories: “edible” and “decorative”. The appearance of decorative pumpkins is usually strange, with uneven skin and colorful colors. It is inedible because it contains a lot of “cucurbitacin”-this is a cucurbitaceous plant
It is a unique natural defense substance with bitter taste and high toxicity. If swallowed, it will cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea and other poisoning symptoms. Edible pumpkins generally have a regular appearance, a smooth skin, and a relatively simple color. After a long period of natural selection and artificial cultivation, the cucurbitacin content is very small. Therefore, remember to distinguish the types when buying pumpkins to avoid harm to health.
Common pumpkin varieties in Germany
The most popular edible variety in German supermarkets is the “Hokkaido Pumpkin” imported from Japan, each weighing about 1.5 to 3 kg, rich in carotene and vitamins, and has a fragrant chestnut taste. It is especially suitable for family kitchen cooking. It can be cooked in soup, baked or served as a side dish. It can also be used to make bread and cakes. It is also good to eat raw with the skin and salads. Other types of pumpkins commonly used at home are also relatively small and exquisite. For example, the “butter and nut pumpkin” with soft flesh and resembling Chinese squash, the “sweet dumpling pumpkin” which is suitable for baking desserts because of its sweet taste, and the “sweet dumpling pumpkin” that is often used as a creamy soup ingredient. Bishop’s hat pumpkin” and the interesting “spaghetti squash”-because the melon flesh has a fibrous structure, it can be torn into thin strips by hand after being steamed and eaten as pasta. In contrast, most of the pumpkins used in restaurants are large, such as giant “nutmeg pumpkins” and “quintal squashes”, which are not found in ordinary supermarkets and need to be purchased at special vegetable stores or farms. Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds that you dug up. After drying, they are delicious snacks. The industrially extracted pumpkin seed oil is healthy and delicious.
In Germany, there is a lively celebration at Halloween every year. Germans even directly name a variety of pumpkins suitable for carving “Jack pumpkin lanterns” as “Halloween pumpkins.” It has a hard skin, thin flesh, and low taste, but it has a bright and beautiful orange-yellow color. It can be stored for several months in a cool and dry environment, so it is better to use it for crafts and decorations than for cooking. In addition, Germans usually decorate their gardens, balconies or tables with ornamental pumpkins, and they can extend their preservation time by spraying clear paint.
The traditional “Pumpkin Festival” celebrates the harvest all over Germany
There are festivals all over Germany with pumpkins as the protagonist, especially in Ludwigsburg, Baden-Wurttemberg. Since 2000, the world’s largest pumpkin exhibition has been held in the Baroque palace gardens of Ludwigsburg Palace every fall. This year coincides with the 250th birthday of the German musician Beethoven, so the theme of the event is “Music”. A total of 450,000 pumpkins were used to build various giant musical instruments and musical celebrities, such as cello, grand piano, vintage gramophone, tape recorder, and The bust of Beethoven, the “King of Rock” Elvis Presley, the red tongue logo of the Rolling Stones and other creative and interesting shapes. In the “Overview of World Pumpkin Varieties” area, the fruits grown in Ludwigsburg from more than 800 pumpkin seeds from all over the world are displayed. The biggest challenge in planning this exhibition is how to harvest each pumpkin in the field. Label the correct variety name. Food lovers are also worthy of this trip. You can taste tempting pumpkin soup, pumpkin rice, pumpkin dumplings, fried pumpkin balls, pumpkin cheese vermicelli, pumpkin burgers, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin waffles and stone oven baked You can also buy condiments, chutneys and pasta made with pumpkin as raw materials in stores.
The most exciting link is a few major reserved projects. The “Pumpkin Rowing Competition” was held in the lake of the castle. The contestants sat in the hollowed out giant pumpkins, struggling to paddle for speed. Super pumpkins from all German states and European countries will participate in the “German Pumpkin Weighing Competition” and “European Pumpkin Weighing Competition” respectively. The current German record belongs to a 916.5 kg Bavarian pumpkin in 2018, and a Belgian pumpkin The 1.2-ton pumpkin set European and world records in 2016. Part of the giant pumpkins will also appear in the “Pumpkin Carnival” venue, turning into vivid and vivid fairy tale images and movie characters in the hands of artists. All the prize-winning pumpkins of the weighing contest will be available for visitors to appreciate before the end of the exhibition period, and will be smashed in the “melon breaking ceremony” on the last day. Fortunate audiences will have the opportunity to obtain high-quality seeds of these giant melons.