Can you believe it is nearly Thanksgiving? The years are sure flying by; sometimes it makes me dizzy the year zooms past so quickly. It seems like just yesterday my mouth was watering in anticipation of Thanksgiving 2010.
So, here we are a week before Thanksgiving 2011. Cornucopias, the horn shaped wicker baskets that come to us from Greek mythology, represent plenty and celebrate the bounty of the fall harvest. These baskets adorn many a table now and they are filled with fall goodness. Warty looking, multi-colored gourds --which often are the result of an heirloom variety-- and mini pumpkins fill up the majority of many folks "horns of plenty."
What would Thanksgiving be like without the plants of the gourd family?
Pumpkins, squashes, melons and many other vegetable garden favorites belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. This plant group contains many summer staples as well including cucumbers, watermelon, squash and cantaloupe. A dizzying array of unusual, inedible gourds is also available in the fall including the more commonly known birdhouse gourd and louffa gourd.
These fruits of the melon and gourd family are typically easy to grow. My wife and I collect seed from our fall fruits and plant them the following spring. We have grown many different varieties including birdhouse and louffa. However, our favorite cucurbits are two types of edible squash - the acorn squash and the spaghetti squash. These are highly nutritious as well as quite entertaining in the case of the spaghetti squash which, when steamed, can be pulled out of the shell and used just like spaghetti noodles. Our (finicky) son, however, is not one bit fooled.
There are bounteous opportunities to obtain some gourds most Saturday mornings at the Oconee Farmer's Market . If you are interested in buying some artful as well as musical gourds see the Joy's Gorgeous Gourds and Creative Crafts booth. While you are there, go ahead and prepare your palate for the upcoming Thanksgiving repast and purchase a pumpkin pie from _Amy Shane or pumpkin pound cake from Sandra Bowden .
Author's note: I like to make puns. My wife and I have contests to see who can make up the cleverest one (or some might say the most awful). Here a few cucurbit puns we came up with; "Hey, I don't want to squash your enthusiasm."; "Wow, that is a gourdeous pumpkin!"; "Oh my Gourd, did you see the size of that watermelon?" Well, we laughed. Ok...punniness is in the mind of the beholder.
Share your best pun in the comments below.