November 25, 2012 by another1bitesthecrust
My loving, devoted husband was so patient with me as I ran from pumpkin to pumpkin in the pumpkin patch declaring my undying love for every one of them in their bright orange, ridged spherical glory. “…and this one could have Frankenstein carved in it, and this one could have a bat, and look how smooth and flat the surface on this one is, it’s perfect for carving! I need them all!”
Well…3 carving pumpkins, one green pumpkin, one fire red pumpkin and one pink pumpkin later (not kidding!), we were trekking home with me planning out the carving activities like a child bringing home their first goldfish trying to decide between naming it Nacho, Fred, Fishy Wishy or Sushi…
Lesson #1 – don’t carve your pumpkin too early. They rot. Quickly.
Lesson #2 – don’t get a ginormous pumpkin. I found out the hard way…the thickness of the walls continue to grow with the pumpkin. Good luck trying to get a knife through it! Once again, my loving, patient husband let me battle with it until I came to terms with the fact that it was un-carvable. Sigh.
(check out the source of my carving frustration…see how massive it is??)
Anyhoo, enough of my lamenting. Onto bigger and better things (or shall we say, smaller and more carvable things…)
My previous Jack o Lantern post described the first pumpkin I carved this year. I found a really fun spider and web template for the second pumpkin. It was a bit small and out of proportion for the size of pumpkin we got, so I photocopied it at 120%.
To start: cut the “lid” at an angle so that it sits snugly back on and doesn’t fall inside. Scoop out the slime and seeds and flesh from the inside. I bought a set of carving tools that included a great scraping tool that I used to really get the fibers and inner layer of flesh off to make a nice, clean inside.
Find the surface that is best suited for carving – flattened, minimal ridges…
Cut off the excess paper around the carving template and tape it onto the pumpkin. I had read online that it helps to dampen the paper with oil or water, so I dampened my kitchen sponge and ran it over the the template. It helps smooth the paper over the ridges and bumps.
I find that since the little carving knives don’t have pointed tips it can be hard to pierce the pumpkin, so I make pilot holes with the tip of a paring knife along all the different edges and sides of the cut outs.
Once you start carving, I find it easier to lay the pumpkin on its ‘back’ so that the side that you’re carving is facing up. It helps with leverage and angles when carving.
We found some great candles that actually screw into the bottom of the pumpkin…much better than a teetering candle.
All done, special thanks to Sir Smudge for his help.
Bonus – pumpkin seeds! Time to get roasting…