With sinking temperatures, falling leaves and the beginning of autumn, the pumpkin returns to German front porches, back gardens and kitchen worktops. Pumpkin season is well and truly underway in Germany.
While pumpkin seeds are in season all year round — and can be found in German bakeries — the pumpkin is associated with autumn like hardly anything else. Maybe this is due to its orange colour which reflects the autumnal glow of the trees, the pumpkin spice mixture which flavours everything in October, but mainly because pumpkins are in season from approximately September to January.
Pumpkin is a popular food in Germany. Every year when autumn starts, recipes for the most various and imaginative dishes — from soups and mixed vegetables to pumpkin replacements in classic recipes like dumplings — featuring the big berry are on high demand.
Works of art
The plate is not the only place pumpkin is a loved favourite: ornamental pumpkins are real works of art and can be found in most German supermarkets. They are a popular decoration for an autumnal theme and a colourful pop in the otherwise mostly grey transition to winter. Another use of pumpkins is the classic Jack O’Lantern and other pumpkin carvings for Halloween, which has seen a rise in popularity in Germany and often is an important activity and event for children who also look forward to dressing up and going trick or treating.
Events around the pumpkin
Each year the town of Ludwigsburg in Baden Württemberg holds the world’s Pumpkin Festival with a championship for the longest and heaviest pumpkin. The present world record is a 1,190.49 kg heavy pumpkin, which was set in 2016. At the end of the festival the pumpkins are destroyed in a special smashing ceremony.
The source for the biggest and prettiest pumpkins often is the farmer’s market. In the state of Brandenburg which is particularly famous for its celebration of pumpkin season, there are many local fairs which feature the pumpkin as its star. Many farms have pick-your-own offers — you can go on their fields and pluck your favourite pumpkin.