Tips for Picking & Carving the Perfect Pumpkin
In the world of pumpkins, there are the varieties that are great for carving - and those that are made for eating. Selecting the perfect pumpkin for carving can be a real adventure considering all the different shapes, sizes, and colors available. And like people, every pumpkin has its unique characteristics, giving it a personality all its own. Pumpkin carving is a tradition your whole family can enjoy, so here’s a few helpful tips on picking and carving your pumpkin.
Choose a design before shopping for a pumpkin - think about which shape would best suit your design - tall and narrow or fat and round. If you're using a stencil, look for a pumpkin with a shape similar to the pattern you're going to carve.
Look for a pumpkin that...
• is firm, free from cuts, soft spots and bruises
• sits well on the ground and is stable
• includes a bit of stem
- Before carving, wipe your pumpkin off with a little bleach and water (approx. 1 tsp. bleach to 1 cup water) this will cut down on fungus.
- Don't cut into your pumpkin around stem. Cutting out a stem cap weakens the pumpkin. Instead, access the pumpkin from backside – this will help preserve freshness. Hiding the opening in the back also gives the pumpkin more visual punch.
- Before carving, scrape and clean the inside of the pumpkin as much as possible. The cleaner you get it, the longer it will last. (Gut it out twice as much as you think you need to).
- Once carved, place your masterpiece in a dry, shady area - it will last longer!
- Tall, thin shapes are perfect for funny and whimsical faces. Round shapes are ideal for happy and scary ones.
- Oddly shaped pumpkins are perfect for creating unique characters.
- Consider a white pumpkin, when unlit, white pumpkins appear to glow as the daylight fades.
Be sure to visit us this weekend for Pumpkin Carving & Painting, Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28, at all three McDonald Garden Center locations, Hampton, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Bring a pumpkin or purchase one from us and get your creativity flowing. We'll provide everything you'll need to decorate a festive fall pumpkin.