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Pumpkins are Overrated!

So it’s that time of year again, that time when there seems to be pumpkins stacked up all over the place, in the grocery store, at the farm stands, the farmers markets, in piles next to random mailboxes along the road, you can’t seem to get away from them! At the risk of exposing my inner curmudgeon, I think that pumpkins are overrated! There, I’ve said it! I’ve taken a position on the proliferation of pumpkins.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin pie, and my wife’s version of pumpkin bars is a real family favorite, but even my Mom never planted pumpkins and preferred to use pumpkin out of tin cans for her fall baking needs. No, most of those piles of pumpkins you’ve been driving or walking past will become an integral part of someone’s Halloween decorations, maybe painted or maybe carved, but they’re never going to make it into a pie, and they’re probably going to end up getting tossed into the trash bin on the way to a landfill somewhere. Food experts estimate that 95% of the pumpkins grown are used for Halloween and then thrown away creating thousands of tons of food waste which ends up in landfills (better to compost, but that’s another story).

Apples, on the other hand, are underrated and taken for granted. It’s also a wonderful time of year for apples, for taking the kids or the grandkids to the local apple orchards, and for me, remembering my Mom’s apple butter. I’ve tasted some pretty good apple butter from a wide variety of sources, but as you might expect, nothing I’ve tried quite matches up to Mom’s. I’ve given this considerable thought over the years, and I think that the secret to Mom’s apple butter was simple but easy to overlook, it was the apples! It wasn’t that they were a special variety, it was that most of the apples that went into her apple butter were the bruised and overripe apples that had fallen off our trees before we had a chance to pick them. My parents, being of the generation that had come of age during the great depression, couldn’t bear to let all those apples go to waste, so with a bit of cleaning and trimming, they became feedstock for Mom’s unique and memorably tasty version of Apple butter.

I think there’s a lesson there for us all. None of us are perfect, we’re all sinners, we’re all bruised, some more, some less, we’ve all had falls and had our share of life’s bumps and bruises. But with a little trimming, a little spice, and with lots of love, we can be transformed into something wonderful, a community of Christians within which we can thrive and find inspiration and purpose.

May His Blessings, Peace and Love be with you,

Jerry Kahrs


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