‘Tis The Season

October 21, 2010

Oh, pumpkin. I tried the Pumpkin Spiced Latte last week at Starbucks — it was tasty! (But the over $5 price tag was a bit of a downer…) Guest blogger Denielle kindly shares her tips for a spectacular carved pumpkin this year:

 

The beautiful Cecelia stands with one her mom's creations.

 

I had never carved a pumpkin in my life until 2 years ago. My daughter saw a kit at Target and was enticed by one of the images on the cover of the stencil book. The attention-grabber was an intricate scene of 3 Disney princesses lit to full glory in a pumpkin.

I decided that although there was no way that Belle, Cinderella and Aurora were going to light the way for my local trick-or-treaters, I would buy the kit and try out one of the easier images (delineated by “one pumpkin” on a four-pumpkin scale of difficulty).

Not being a particularly crafty person – or that skilled with a double-edged knife  — I carved my very first pumpkin, and damn, if it didn’t come out REALLY well!!!!!

Now in my third year of carving, I thought I would share some tips from a non-crafty, somewhat klutzy pumpkin carver to you, loyal readers of FamilyFavs.  Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can!

PREP:

  1. Invest in a legit pumpkin carving kit. Don’t try and do this with your kitchen knives. And also invest in a solid pumpkin scoop. The slightly serrated edges help get out all the gross veins and seeds very easily
  2. Wear short sleeves and expect to get slimy!
  3. Buy a stencil book, or search online and print one out. Start simple.

CARVING:

1. Sit your pumpkin on the floor as it will sit on Halloween night and tape the 8 and 1/2 x 11 print out on the front.

— Tip: Make sure your pumpkin is big enough to sport your design….you don’t want to be carving too low or too high.

2. Using the largest carving knife, cut a circle around the pumpkin stem at the top, pull it off and set it aside.

— Extra Tip: Make sure the hole is big enough for a wide candle to fit in!

— Extra Extra Tip: Cut a small bit out of the top in a little “V” to allow candle smoke to exit!

— Most Important Tip: Make sure you angle the saw inwards so your lid sits on top of the pumpkin and doesn’t fall straight through!

3. Using your hands and your legit scooping tool, scoop out the seeds and strings inside the pumpkin. If you are planning to toast the seeds, be sure to separate them from the pumpkin flesh and strings.

4. Also be sure that the bottom is flat for the candle to rest on.

5. Tape the stencil on the front of your pumpkin, using tape on each of the 4 corners.

6. Using your pumpkin poker, carefully follow the lines on your stencil and make holes approximate 1/8” apart.

— You can move your pumpkin to a table for this part!

7. Once all the outlines have been made, remove the stencil and begin carving with the thin, delicate knives.

— Tip: start in the center of the design.

— Tip: to better see your holes, lightly dust flour over your pumpkin!

— Tip: Cut at an angle – opposite to the angle on the top — making the opening on the inside, wider than the outside. This allows for maximum light to show through your design!

Note: Traveling this week, so no post tomorrow — Family Favs will be back next week with more exciting tips and recommendations!

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