How to pick, prep, and decorate the perfect pumpkin
Preparing the Pumpkin Area
Prepping your pumpkin for carving should be fun for the entire family, but it doesn’t mean that you have to ruin a room or an outfit in the process. Place the pumpkin on layers of newspaper, a vinyl tablecloth, or a couple of trash bags. Put craft bibs on little ones and make sure that everyone’s sleeves are rolled up. This is an excellent time to wash your pumpkins with water to remove excess dirt. After they are thoroughly cleaned, remember to dry your pumpkins completely before attempting to paint or carve them.
Carving the Pumpkin
You can cut a hole either in the top or bottom of the pumpkin. From the top, make sure that you cut at an angle. This will allow your pumpkin top to rest on the ledge. If you cut straight across the top might fall inside your pumpkin. From the bottom, make sure that your cut is level so your pumpkin will sit flat. The bottom has an added bonus because it will make removal of the pumpkin’s seeds and fiberous stuff easier and allow the pumpkin to keep its figure.
The Pumpkin Turned Inside Out
Now it’s time to scrape the insides of the pumpkin out. You can buy scraping tools at the grocery store, but a soup ladle or ice cream scoop works just as well. The more pumpkin you scrape out, the easier your pumpkin will be to carve. Don’t waste the seeds because they make a delicious snack. Many children love to put their hands through the mushy fibers to fish out the seeds. You can even make it a game to see who can collect the most seeds.
Recipe for the Seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Go through the seeds and remove excess fibers.
- In a bowl, toss seeds with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Spread the seeds evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan and put in the oven.
- Roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, turning them over every ten minutes or so.
- Cool the seeds. shell and eat.
- Remember that seeds can be a choking hazard for very young children, so make sure your child is old enough to eat them.
Safety for the Little Carvers
No matter how skilled your pumpkin carvers are, an adult should always supervise kids using sharp tools or utensils. Don’t ever try to force a knife through the pumpkin. Cut away from you.
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