Carving a pumpkin is an art. It all starts by choosing the perfect shaped pumpkin and you go from there. I look for a nice flat bottomed pumpkin and I usually buy the largest and widest pumpkin in the store. I also buy at least 3 different ones because as a general rule, they only last 1 ½ to 2 weeks, so I do them in 3 stages. I prefer to buy pumpkins that have unusual shaped stems because it adds character to the end result.
Find a comfortable and large enough surface to work on. I have an island in my kitchen that is a perfect size for pumpkin carving but a kitchen table works just as well. Lay some old newspaper out in your working space to dump all the pulp and seeds. The newspaper is easy to fold up and toss in the garbage and also helps absorb all the excess moisture from the pulp and seeds.
The key to easy carving is in selecting a sharp, serrated medium size knife that fits well in your hand. They also sell several pumpkin carving tools that work really good as well. You want to first cut off the crown or stem of the pumpkin. Cut a 2” radius around and once cut, lay the stem to the side on a separate plate or eve on the newspaper. Using a large serving size spoon, ladle or for the adventurous carvers, just use your hands to scoop out all the messy pulp and seeds and place it all on the newspaper. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pumpkin to make sure you remove all the fleshy parts.
Pumpkin seeds are actually very tasty and can be roasted for approximately 20 minutes or so on a baking sheet at 400 degrees. They make a great snack later on while you are watching a movie.
Some people just start carving away freehand, but I like to use a marker to outline my face on the pumpkin, so I have the option of changing whatever I don’t like before I start cutting away. Believe me; I change my mind several times before it feels right to me. If you do not like to draw you can now buy pumpkin stencils which are easy to find free on the internet. When you have finished the outline, start carving away. All the excess pieces can go in the pile on the newspaper.
Once your masterpiece is completely finished and you are satisfied with the results, simply clean up your mess which should all be on the newspaper, roll it up and toss it in the garbage.
Your pumpkin is now ready to glow! Some people still use a candle but for safety reasons, I prefer the flame less candles available everywhere now in all different sizes. You don’t have to worry about any fire issues and you get the same result.
You can make pumpkin carving an annual family event and to add a touch of fun, have a contest for the funniest..spookiest..craziest pumpkins. That way everyone can be a winner!
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