Pumpkin Carving Tips & Tricks
Looking to carve the best Jack-o-Lantern on the block this year? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4 with the right knives and a few tips & tricks.
Pick the right pumpkin—Jack-o-Lantern carving starts with the right pumpkin.
- Choose a pumpkin that is fresh, free from bruises, cuts or soft spots, and has a sturdy stem. Defects can mean that the pumpkin has already started decaying – a bad sign if you want it to last more than a few days.
- Try to buy local if possible…locally grown pumpkins are usually fresher from not having to be shipped cross-country.
- Look for an evenly shaped pumpkin with a flat bottom so that it won’t roll.
- A lighter color means softer flesh that’s easier to carve.
- Choose a pumpkin that is light for its size. If it’s heavy, it’ll probably have thicker flesh. A pumpkin that looks light for its size means it’s nice and hollow inside.
2. Cut out the lid at an angle using a boning knife.
Cutting the lid at an angle will prevent it from falling inside the pumpkin when you replace it. (Using the right knife makes this job way easier—a boning knife is a long, thin, sharp knife.)
3. Scoop out all the pulp and seeds, plus some…
Scraping the inside of the pumpkin to expose the light-colored flesh makes it easier to carve and reflects more light. Use an ice cream scoop to remove about ½ of the fruit inside.
4. Make your design
Print or draw your design on paper first. Next, lightly trace the design through the paper and onto the pumpkin with the tip of your knife. Or try drawing your design on your pumpkin using a dry erase marker which you can rub off and alter.
To carve: hold the pumpkin in your lap so that it is peering up at you, and use a paring knife to make slices straight into the pumpkin to carve out the details of your design. Clean incisions made straight into the pumpkin look best and are easiest to pop out—angled cuts are more difficult to work with.
Make the most of your scraps-
You can use the innards or scraps in a creative way—make a tongue out of a discarded piece of pumpkin shell, for example. Or roast the seeds in the oven with your favorite spices for a healthy snack.
Here are some fresh tips-
- First, start by waiting until a week or so before the holiday to carve your pumpkin. A carved pumpkin will only last about a week, so waiting will help you to make the most of it!
- Try squirting lemon juice on the exterior of the pumpkin—lemon will help prolong the life of your Jack-o-Lantern.
- Before carving, give your pumpkins a bleach bath! Using a large bucket, add 1 TBS bleach for 1 quart of water. Let them soak for at least 1 hour and only up to 3. Turn them upside down and get the stems washed too. The bleach inhibits bacterial growth, which can expedite rotting.
- Spread petroleum jelly or vegetable oil on the cut edges to seal in moisture.
- If your Jack-o-lantern starts to wither, you can revitalize it by soaking it in cold water for up to eight hours.
Try these illuminating tips-
- Give your Jack-o-Lantern some air—fire needs oxygen flow in order to keep the flame burning. Try carving out ears or poking a hole in the back of your Jack-o-Lantern to provide some air for your lit candles.
- Keep the votive candles in a jar to prevent burning your Jack-o-Lantern.
- Try using battery-operated candles.
Here’s a sweet smelling tip-
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, ginger or vanilla inside the lid of your jack-o-lantern—the heat from your candle will warm the spices and make your front stoop smell like Fall.Pick up all the knives you need to make festive Jack-o-Lanterns at Ronco.com.