Published October 1, 2018
Tips and Tricks for Finding and Carving the Best Pumpkins on the Block
Do you remember pumpkin carving as a kid? Sitting on the floor, wrestling paring knives, scraping pumpkin guts and saving the seeds for a delicious snack? It’s one of the hallmarks of fall, the yearly pumpkin hunt and carving adventure. Well, it’s that time again…so, gather up the kids and get ready for some fun!
Finding the Perfect Pumpkin
Pumpkins are everywhere this time of year! If you want to make pumpkin picking a new yearly tradition, head to Waterman’s Family Farm to enjoy all the atmosphere and celebration of fall, or pick out a few at any local market or grocery store. When choosing your pumpkins for carving, look for ones with a smoother surface and no soft spots (these can indicate the beginnings of decay).
You’ll need a flat surface, a instrument for carving (we recommend inexpensive safety knives made specifically for pumpkin carving—good for little hands—which you can find in many local stores during pumpkin season) and plenty of newspapers. While you’re there, pick up one of the oh-so-easy-to-use battery operated lights for making your pumpkin glow. They are safe, easy and you can use them year after year. You’ll also need a big serving spoon or ice cream scoop and a permanent marker.
Prepping the Pumpkin
Now that you’ve got those beauties home, lay out a towel or newspapers on a flat surface, and get ready for the mess! The first step is cleaning out the pumpkin. Carefully cut a hole on the top of your pumpkin big enough to get your hand through. By cutting on a slight inward slant you’ll ensure your pumpkin top doesn’t fall in when you replace it. Next, grab a spoon and start scooping out the seeds and strings inside the pumpkin, scraping the sides as you go. Sometimes little hands can use some help on this step, it can be tough work! If you want a delicious snack for later, separate and save those seeds!*
Time to Make Your Masterpiece
Take a few minutes to dry off the outside of the pumpkin and, with a permanent marker, draw out the features of your pumpkin pal. Whether your kiddos are going for scary or friendly, it helps to keep the spaces in between shapes generous to eliminate tricky knife work. Carefully begin to cut away according to your design. This is definitely a good job for an adult if using a real knife.
When you’re finished, grab your pumpkin light, and let your hard work shine!
*Easy Pumpkin Seed Snacks
If you took the time to save those seeds, here’s an easy recipe for a great snack.
Rinse the seeds and toss them in a bowl with 2T butter and a bit of salt. Next, scatter them on a big baking tray. You can put foil down first for easy clean up. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes, tossing occasionally. Allow to cool, and enjoy!