The Handy Kitchen Tool That Makes Cleaning Out Pumpkins A Breeze

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Pumpkin carving is one of Halloween's most fun and festive traditions. But, of course, before you can try your hand at carving your own creative Halloween pumpkin, you need to first clean the pumpkin flesh out, which can be its own chore. However, one handy kitchen tool makes cleaning out a pumpkin simple and easy: an ice cream scooper.

Hollowing out pumpkins is necessary if you plan to light the pumpkin from the inside. Your candle or LED light will need a steady surface to sit on as it illuminates the pumpkin from within. This said, where you scoop out the pumpkin seeds isn't set in stone. If you're using a candle, you should remove the seeds from the top, but if you're using a glow stick or battery-operated light, you can remove the flesh from the back of the pumpkin. No one will see it, and doing so can be quicker.

As for what to use to clean out your pumpkin, repurposing an ice cream scooper is a handy trick. Not only is an ice cream scooper's handle sturdy, given how it needs to dig into frozen ice cream, but the scoop is also the perfect shape to carve into the curved insides of a pumpkin. Most of us have an ice cream scooper in the kitchen, but if not, buying one for Halloween can prove frugal, too, as the scooper surely will find use after the holiday: for ice cream, making cookies, etc.

Cleaning out pumpkins with an ice cream scoop

When using an ice cream scoop to clean out a pumpkin, really, any style will do. However, a classic scooper, like this LifHaf 7-inch ice cream scoop, available at Amazon for $13, works best for a job like this. You don't need fancy mechanisms, like a spring-loaded design or one with heat. All you're doing is removing the flesh of your soon-to-be carved pumpkin masterpiece. Note that removing the guts of a pumpkin is a big step in keeping bugs away from your jack-o'-lanterns, too.

This said, if the ice cream scoop in your kitchen is a different style, like a spade shape or one that's spring-loaded, that's fine, too. Overall, what makes an ice cream scooper a good pumpkin scooper is its basic design: a big, sturdy spoon. This design works well in not only scooping out the pumpkin flesh, but cutting away the pumpkin's fibrous strings as well so you can get rid of every strand and seed.

You can also carve with an ice cream scoop

Though the brunt of the work done by an ice cream scooper will be removing the insides of a pumpkin, you can also use it to make a few lively designs. The curve of the scooper, combined with its sharp edge, can help create different shapes and textures in your winter squash. For example, you can use it to carve out eyes or make half-moon crescents. You can also use an ice cream scooper to slightly scrape off and thin out areas of the pumpkin to give off a shadow appearance.

If you don't already have an ice cream scoop in your kitchen, as said, you likely can get a lot of use out of one for years to come if you do buy one new. The LifHaf scooper mentioned earlier, for example, also works for scooping gelato, forming cookie dough balls, or carving into sorbet. Meanwhile, this Spring Chef ice cream scooper, also available at Amazon for $25, is another classic design, and a bestseller, earning 4.8 stars from nearly 26,500 ratings.