17 Oct, 2012
Written by Dawn Billesbach from Menu for the Week
Pumpkin carving rates right up there with egg dying at our house. It’s something we start looking forward to way before October. This year, we are even making it a party – a BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) party. I’m making a big pot of taco soup and setting up tables outside for carving. I’m as excited as the kids are.
A few pumpkin carving tips.
- Choose large pumpkins that do not have bruises or moldy stems.
- Pumpkins with a lighter color tend to be softer and easier to carve.
- When cleaning the pumpkin, save the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy as well as tasty snack.
- Use a large, heavy metal serving spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape the insides.
- For longer life, soak the cleaned pumpkin for a couple of hours in a bleach water solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. Dry thoroughly and rub inside and out with vegetable oil.
- Draw out planned face with a pencil and then a marker. You can also print out or draw the pattern on a piece of paper and use small sharp scissors to outline through the paper.
- Use a long serrated knife or a pumpkin-carving knife with teeth to cut through pumpkin flesh.
- Use a sawing motion and take your time cutting along the outside edge of the marker lines.
- Sprinkle the bottom side of the pumpkin lid with ground cinnamon and nutmeg to let your jack -o-lantern double duty as an air freshener.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds!!
The best part of carving pumpkins is the pumpkin seeds you are left with. This is much easier than you think. Here’s what we do at our house.
1) Remove and rinse the pumpkin seeds. Lay flat to dry on a paper towel.
2) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
3) Spread seeds in single layer on a large cookie sheet. Season to taste. We like salt and garlic powder.
4) Place in preheated over for an hour to an hour and a half.
5) Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.