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Basic Pumpkin Carving

Posted in: Halloween, Vegetables,


Is there any symbol that says “Halloween” more than the traditional Jack O’Lantern pumpkin? Tony Bettencourt of 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar decided to put his Chef’s duties aside this Halloween and train himself to be a pumpkin carver. His two children, Marco and Serena, are more interested in having their own Jack O’Lantern instead of the normal Italian food that Tony puts out at his restaurant. If you are determined as he is to enjoy activities like these with your kids, or you just want to try it, he shows that it is really not that hard.

What Tony found did find out is that there are a few little tricks to it, but what this video proves that even if you have never made a pumpkin you can learn to do it yourself in very little time. It will make your kids very, very happy.

Tip #1: Have a few tools handy, including a sharp knife, a Philips head screwdriver, a pencil and a black magic marker. When removing the top, you want a jagged edge so Tony uses an angled knife for this.

Tip #2: Outline the top lid, eyes, nose and mouth in pencil first so that you can change it without leaving visible markings.
Tip #3: Make indentations with the screwdriver before cutting through with the knife. This will make the cutting easier and safer, plus you will not break off any pieces that you want to stay with the pumpkin.

Tip #4: Scoop out the insides with a large spoon. Save the seeds, clean them from the pulp and roast them for a healthy treat. To roast it is better to boil them first in salt water for 20 to 30 minutes. You can spray them with oil, add salt and any other flavorings you might want such as garlic powder or cayenne pepper, and roast in the oven at 250 degrees F. for about an hour. Turn once or twice.

Tip #5: Do not let the kids handle the knife of course, and be careful yourself since it requires applying some pressure, especially if the pumpkin is fresh and the outer rind is hard. 

What are Jack O’ Lanterns? The tradition goes back to the Celts, and the name is derived from a mythological person nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” It seems that Stingy Jack tricked the devil to avoid going to the underworld, but God did not want such an unscrupulous person in heaven either. The devil then gave Jack a carved out turnip with a piece of burning coal in it to help him find his way.

At some point the Celts started celebrating the end of summer on what we know today as Halloween. It was a day to honor their deceased loved ones, and they put out carved gourds lighted from the inside with pieces of burning coal (like Stingy Jack’s Lantern) to welcome back any deceased loved ones as well as to keep away bad spirits. When the Irish immigrated to America, they found pumpkins, which were larger and easier to carve, and that is why we use them today.This video was filmed in the Kitchen Showroom at the Building Center in Gloucester, MA. You can obtain more information at their web site; www.bcgloucester.com


Basic Pumpkin Carving
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds (cleaned and raw)
seasonings (i.e. garlic, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, allspice)


1. Boil pumpkin seeds in salted water for about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Place seeds in oiled baking sheet and season as desired.
3. Roast in a 250 degree F. oven for about one hour, stirring two or three times.

Recipe courtesy of Tony Bettencourt, 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2011.

About The Cook

Antonio BettencourtChef Antonio Bettencourt's training started at a young age. The passion for cooking was developed while helping prepare dinner at his mother's side each night and on holidays. Family trips

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