Halloween in right around the corner and it's time to carve your pumpkins! Check out these expert tips for making your jack-o-latern look better and last longer.
- Good carving starts with the right pumpkin.
Choose one that is fresh, with a sturdy stem and no bruises, and that has a flat bottom so it won't roll.
- Cut out the lid on an angle, not straight up and down.
This way the lid won't drop inside the pumpkin when you replace it. A boning knife works best for this.
- Scoop out all the pulp — and then some.
You can buy a special "claw" for this, but an ice cream scoop will do just fine. Thin the inner wall of the "face" area to 1 1/4-inch thick, so it will be easier to pierce the shell.
- Hold the pumpkin in your lap when it's time to carve the features.
It's easier to carve when the face is gazing up at you. And don't cut on a slant; clean up-and-down slices look best. To make intricate designs, try using a small saw. Pumpkin Masters makes a pumpkin-carving kit with a 4-in-1 tool, a scraper tool, a saw, a drill, a pounce wheel and 14 patterns ($12, amazon.com).
- Use your scraps creatively.
Make a tongue out of a discarded piece of pumpkin shell, for example.
- Keep your pumpkin fresh.
Spread petroleum jelly on the cut edges to seal in moisture. If your pumpkin still shrivels a few days later, you can revive it with a facedown soak in cold water for up to eight hours.
- If you like to leave the lid on while the candle is lit, create a chimney.
First, leave the lid on for a few minutes while the candle burns, then make a small hole where the lid has blackened.
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid.
When you light the candle, your jack-o'-lantern will smell like a pumpkin pie.
Article courtesy of Good Housekeeping