If you carve pumpkins every year and feel that the results never quite measure up to your expectations, then we have the perfect blog for you today! We’re going to share our tips on carving the perfect pumpkin. Make sure that you have enough space to spread out and really get into your creative mode. Need more space? Shop online at Table-Mate® to browse our products and find the perfect ones for your home. Our portable table trays offer a variety of height options and tilt angles to accommodate your needs. See why our products are the best.
1. Pick the Right Pumpkin
You may not realize it, but the type of pumpkin you choose impacts the quality of your carving. Since pumpkins grow on the ground, the stem is not meant to support the weight of the gourd. If you see a pumpkin without a stem, that probably means that it’s either been mishandled or handled too much. You want to make sure that you’re getting a fresh pumpkin, so be sure to look for one with a stem that is slightly green. The greener the stem, the better.
One other tip — thicker stems are better. The thicker the stem, the thicker the walls will be, which means that the pumpkin is heavy and better for carving.
2. Odd Shapes Are Fun
Since pumpkins don’t come in a universal shape and size, you can really have some fun with pumpkins that are extra long, super stout, or just plain weird. In fact, sometimes the shape of the pumpkin will lend itself to a particular carving, which could give your front porch the spooky factor you want.
3. Plan Your Design
It’s a good idea to know what you want your pumpkin to look like before you start. In fact, drawing your design on paper and then making revisions is the best way to ensure that you don’t make a mistake with your carving. Once you have your design fleshed out on paper, you should use a stencil to sketch the design onto your pumpkin before making a single cut. This way, you can make adjustments as needed and avoid obvious mistakes with the knife.
4. Time Your Carving Carefully
Since pumpkins are perishable food items, it’s important to time your carving for when you want to display it. There is no way to know how long your pumpkin will last once it’s been carved. Some last for three weeks, while others begin to crumble inward within a matter of days. Since pumpkins will last a really long time prior to being carved, do your best to remain patient until the time is right for carving. Once you begin carving, the pumpkin begins decomposing, so you don’t want to stop the process until you are completely done. If you want to display your pumpkin at Halloween, then don’t start carving at the beginning of October.
Pro Tip - Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy so that you can mist the pumpkin as you work. While a pumpkin doesn’t oxidize as fast as an apple or avocado, constant misting will keep the pumpkin flesh moist, which means that the structure should stay workable for longer.
5. Cut a Hole in the Back
This tip may be a game-changer for your pumpkin carving projects! The vast majority of people cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin around the stem. The problem with doing it this way is that the stem is providing nutrients to the pumpkin until it is completely dried out. By severing the connection between the gourd and the stem, you are hastening its decomposition.
Alternatively, some people cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. This is problematic as well since all the moisture in the pumpkin will then drain all over the table or whatever surface you have placed it on.
The solution? Cut a hole in the back so that the stem can continue providing nutrients, the moisture stays inside, and you still have access to placing a light inside the pumpkin.
6. Leave No Pumpkin Goop Behind
There will definitely be a lot of goop in your pumpkin when you start scooping out the insides. Don’t stop until you have completely emptied your pumpkin of everything. Some people leave little bits behind because they don’t think that small pieces will matter. If you want a perfectly carved pumpkin, however, it matters. Those little bits you leave behind begin to grow mold, which will spread to the walls of the pumpkin and make it decompose more quickly.
The more you scrape everything out, the thinner the walls will become, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Since you’re working to get every stringy piece out, the walls will actually be a little bit drier, which could help your pumpkin hold its shape for longer.
7. Avoid Using Candles
While a heat source inside the pumpkin can actually create a pleasant aroma, you want to avoid using candles since they essentially cook the pumpkin, shortening its display time. A much better option is to use electric lights such as LEDs or CFLs. These lights give off a really bright light without generating a lot of heat. The colder you can keep your pumpkin, the longer it will last.
8. Arrange Your Display
Depending on the way you want to display your carved pumpkins, you may need some extra space or height to create the best effect. Portable table trays from Table-Mate® are a great solution. Our tray tables come in a variety of sizes and offer adjustable heights and tilt angles to accommodate your needs. When you’re done with your pumpkin display, they will easily fold up and slide away into your storage closet.
Shop online at Table-Mate® to view all of our products, and purchase the ones that are best for you. Whether you need tables for your children, a family member with a disability, or friends coming over to watch the latest scary movie, you are sure to find what you need at Table-Mate®.