If you plan to carve, look for a pumpkin that has clean, smooth surfaces... free of bruises or dents, and try look for pumpkins that have at least 2-inch well attached stems... sometimes this is the hardest thing to find. Stems get broken during shipment, so you might have better luck at a pumpkin patch. Any pumpkin you intend to carve and then light with a candle should be no less than 9" tall.
Making your lid:
There's a trick to this, because if you don't cut it right, the lid will fall inside your pumpkin! The key is to cut it at an angle, with the outside edge larger than the inside.
Scraping your pumpkin:
Not too much to this! Scrape out the gunk and scrape the sides clean, do the same for the inside of the lid. Make a nice level bottom for your candle, but don't scrape it to thin or you're pumpkin's bottom will quickly rot.
Just be careful! I recommend pumpkin carving tools over the old fashion way of using a kitchen knife. These tools can be purchased at grocery stores and mass retailers like Walmart... very easy to find and are not very expensive. Many come packaged with templates to guide you. Follow the instructions they provide and don't hand over any tools (regardless of how safe they seem) to you kiddos unless they meet the age requirements specified on the packaging... even then, supervise!!! If you're kids are too young for cutting, let them draw the face on the pumpkin, then cut it out for them.
My only recommendation here, is to use a votive. They are small and stable.
You may have done this as a kid... if so, you probably remember how much fun it was!
Here the basics for toasting:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Remove seeds from the pumpkin contents and rinse well
- Add about 2 cups of water for every 1/2 cup of seeds (in a small saucepan), add 2 tbs of salt and bring to a boil, let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water.
- Spread a tablespoon of olive oil on a cookie sheet, then spread out your seeds, in one layer. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until they begin to brown, then remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve when they've cooled completely.
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