We are prepping for our first big pumpkin carving experience with Buddy this year. I’ve heard a few tips for pumpkin carving and preservation over the years but I have this weird desire to know everything out there (or at least as much as I can) about things, anything, and no, I wasn’t about to let pumpkin carving be the exception to this “rule.” So I spent a little time browsing the interwebs (heehee) searching for tips and tricks for getting, and keeping!, a perfectly carved pumpkin. And then I thought…hmmm…maybe my friends would like to know these things too. And that’s when I created this round-up of tips and tricks so we can all have perfectly carved pumpkins this year!
Peggy, over at About.com, shares a whole slew of tips that I thought were just great! For example…
1. Did you know that lighter colored pumpkins are easier to carve?! I don’t know if there’s anything scientific or any quantifiable data to support this theory but hey, works for me.
2. To keep pumpkins from shriveling: soak a carved pumpkin in a solution of bleach water (1 tsp bleach for each gallon of water) for a few hours then coat all cut/exposed parts of the pumpkin with vegetable oil or petrolium jelly. (I had heard the petrolium jelly trick a while ago but didn’t know to soak the pumpkin first…or that you can use vegetable oil.)
3. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cloves in the bottom of the pumpkin to have it double as an air freshener. (Mmmm)
Spoonful.com recommends the following tips I had never heard:
1. Bring your pumpkins indoors if the temps are forecast to drop below freezing. (It doesn’t explain why, nor does it mention if this is for carved or uncarved pumpkins…hmmm.)
2. Carve the face from the center out. Wow…why didn’t I ever think of this? I’m usually a top-down kind of girl (no I’m not talking about my choice of vehicle) but this makes a lot of sense!
3. Use the tip of a potato peeler for small circles and curves. Genius!
Tom from extremepumpkins.com (wowsa…check out that site!) has some fun tips to share too. Even for those of us who won’t be using power tools or other “exteme carving” techniques this year. 😉
1. Think outside the top…that is, don’t feel like you have to cut the top off your pumpkin. Depending on your design, you can cut out the bottom or the back to get the seeds and pulp out before carving if you want the top to stay whole.
2. Use dry erase markers to draw your design on. If you mess up or some is left after you carve you can easily erase it!
3. Tom sprays his pumpkins with bathroom cleaner with bleach when he’s finished carving. Similar effect as soaking in bleach water but a lot simpler!
Tom also has some great ideas for using props with your pumpkin! Definitely worth checking out this site!
1. They too recommended bleach but suggested a spray bottle of water with a little bleach to spray on the pumpkin daily.
2. You can also wrap your pumpkin in plastic wrap and refrigerate at night to slow the aging process.
3. Spraying hairspray on the inside of a pumpkin can also help prolong its life.
And here’s a few sites from which you can download different pumpkin patterns to use for free!
http://www.extremepumpkins.com/pumpkin-patterns.html (You have to “buy” these for $0.00–I don’t get it either–but he boasts that he offers a couple fonts that work well for carving and won’t cave in so if you’re looking to put words or a monogram on your pumpkin this might be a good place to start!)
http://www.pumpkinmasters.com/free-patterns.asp (“Candelaboo” is adorable!)
http://www.rd.com/slideshows/pumpkin-carving-patterns-ideas/#slideshow=slide28 (I like “Starry Night” and “Haunted House” the best from this site.)
http://www.pumpkinlady.com/pumpkin-carving-patterns/free-pumpkin-carving-patterns/ (I love her “Reminder Ribbons” and “Full House” patterns!)
Do you have any great pumpkin carving tips to share? Let me know! Also, feel free to post pictures of your carved masterpieces to our facebook page!