October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving is one of the greatest Halloween traditions. I collected some terrific tips to share this season:

The Pick of the Patch! The best pumpkin for carving is one that is:
-Large in size
-Has a flat surface (shouldn't roll easily)
-Has a sturdy stem (don't handle your pumpkin by the stem, it will weaken it)
-Has a healthy looking bottom. (A punctured pumpkin on the bottom can have funny things growing inside once you open it up.)

These carving tips may seem basic but they are important!
-Work with a clean and dried surface. Carve on the flattest side of the pumpkin.
-When you cut the lid for your pumpkin make sure to angle the knife so the lid doesn't fall in.
-Use a non permanent marker to draw your design. The marker will wash off easily.
-Clean out the inside and scrape the sides down- you are aiming for a one inch thick frame for cutting.
-Use a saw blade knife. When carving you should be sawing not cutting. Work slowly and carefully because if you make a mistake you can't fix it!

Jack-o-lanterns can last one day to several weeks before shriveling. The key is to prevent the pumpkin from drying out. Here are some tricks:
-Soak your pumpkin in a water bath daily. You can even add some unscented bleach to kill off bacteria and mold.
-If a daily pumpkin bath is too much work, simply spray the pumpkin with water daily but dry off the outside with a towel to prevent mold from growing.
-Coat the inside and exposed sawed edges of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly. It will help seal in moisture.

There are some creative things you can do with your carved pumpkin. Here are some ideas:
-Use either candles or a battery powered small light bulb for lighting the pumpkin. Flash bumbs can be used to add a startling effect!
-Pin colored cellophane sheets behind the carved design. The light will shrine through the design.
-Add a music device to the inside of the pumpkin to welcome trick-or-treaters.

I hope these tips help you create a beautiful jack-o-lantern this season. Happy Halloween!

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