November 28, 2011

Alex Brunkhorst

Ten Techniques for Carving the Perfect Pumpkin

  1. Pick the right pumpkin. Pumpkins, unlike girls you meet in clubs, are going to be around for a few weeks, so be choosy. Pick one that’s smooth, evenly colored, flat-bottomed, and is not bruised or rotting. And never carry a pumpkin by its stem.

  2. The right tools are critical. We like those from Villafane. Trust us, don't skip this step. That fish knife works good on halibut but not so good on one of the toughest fruits in the world. (Yes, pumpkin’s a fruit … seeds and vine, folks).

  3. Before you begin carving, level off the bottom of your pumpkin. No one does this is and they run into trouble later. Draw a circle on the bottom of your pumpkin and very carefully cut a ledge with your serrated tool.

  4. After opening the pumpkin, scrape the interior clean with a metal spoon and your Villafane scraper. Scrape until the wall of your pumpkin is around 1 inch thick. PS. This is not the time to be lazy. Gooey orange stuff will come back to haunt you (pun intended).

  5. Save the seeds, because we have a great recipe you’ll need them for later in the week.

  6. Stop! Do not grab your knife and start carving. Take a few deep breaths and proceed to #7.

  7. If you're carving an elaborate design, draw it first on paper. Tape the design to the pumpkin and use a pin to poke tiny holes through the paper and into the rind. When you remove the paper, the pattern will be visible and ready to cut, without any telltale ink marks.

  8. Your pumpkin is not your MacBook Pro. Don’t put it on a shelf and attempt to carve it that way. Always carve your pumpkin on your lap at a 90 degree angle. Do not thrust your knife into the pumpkin. Use a gentle sawing motion. It will help preserve the pumpkin and you’ll be able to make smaller incisions.

  9. Your new, gorgeous pumpkin must be preserved. Some great suggestions: Rub the incisions with petroleum jelly; spray the pumpkin with water mixed with a little bleach to keep insects and rot away; and, when your pumpkin’s not on display, spray it with water, plastic-wrap it, and store it in the fridge. It will last much longer.

  10. Lighting tips: Carve a hole in the upper back part of the pumpkin to act as a chimney. Use a candle in a glass votive holder. This will prevent singeing to the pumpkin.



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