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Local shops in the St.Fagans area are probably wondering why their stock of swedes have been running so low lately!  Before the pumpkin, made popular by the American love of the festival, we had the humble swede. Although smaller, with its gnarled appearance and hairy roots, it did the job well and was traditionally carved and used as a lantern just like a pumpkin today.

The flesh of a swede is harder than a pumpkin so a bit more effort had to be put into removing it. After a little experimentation, the kitchen utensil of choice turned out to be the apple corer.   A scary face could then be easily carved with a knife.

What to do with all that swede! Traditionally it would have been thrown into the cooking pot, but an alternative recipe comes from Poland.  A swede tastes like radish when eaten raw. Sliced very thinly, seasoned with salt and pepper then mixed with chopped spring onion, parsley and a drop of olive oil, it makes a very light and refreshing salad. A phrase I've never applied to a swede before!

A big thank you to our conservation volunteers who worked so hard to recreate our traditional Jack O’ Lanterns. 31 were made in all, so if you're coming along to our spooktacular Halloween festival this year, keep an eye out for them, they are likely to jump out and scare you at any time.

Happy Halloween everyone

Penny Hill

Preventive Conservator, Historic Buildings

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