Pumpkin Carving Tips and Tricks
Clean Out the Seeds
By Paul Krantz
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Clean Out the Seeds
With your pattern and tools at hand, you are ready to begin. Although you can involve your kids in the entire process of carving a pumpkin, be sensitive to their abilities. Never let young kids handle regular knives, and have them take a break if they become tired or frustrated.
Cutting the Lid
You'll need to cut an opening to remove the seeds and the soft flesh inside the pumpkin. Traditionally, this is done by cutting a lid on top to provide access to the interior.
Cut a six-inch-wide circular opening around the top of the pumpkin using your cutting tool. Use a slow and even sawing motion and light pressure. Keep the tip of the blade pointed toward the center of the pumpkin. This creates a bevel that prevents the lid from falling into the hollowed out pumpkin.
Another approach is to make the opening in the bottom of the pumpkin instead of the top. This makes it easier to light a candle inside the pumpkin, especially if the pumpkin is tall. If you go this route, you'll need a screw driver or butter knife to pry the lid from the sticky flesh under the thick rind.
Whether you go top or bottom, include a small notch in your lid. This will make it easier to replace it with the correct orientation.
Seeding the Pumpkin
For kids who like to make messes, this is the best part of the job!
Using a spoon or scraper and your hands, remove all the seeds of slimy flesh from the pumpkin. To minimize odors and decay, scrape the inside walls until you reach firm, dry rind.
To make carving a large pumpkin easier, scrape the back of the face side to make it about an inch thick. This is also important if you plan to use gouges to create shapes in the skin. The thinner rind will allow these areas to glow once the pumpkin is lighted.
But don't throw away those seeds! Just clean them off, let them dry, and try our recipe for absolutely fabulous Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.
For extra tips and photos of some of the steps described in our guide, view our pumpkin carving slideshow.
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