The leaves have fallen, the clocks are changing and the spookiest day in the calendar is fast approaching. This means it’s time to indulge in everybody’s favourite Halloween pastime – pumpkin carving!

Where to pick your pumpkin?

Yes, you could just head to your local supermarket to pick up a pumpkin, but where’s the fun in that? Why not get the whole family involved and make a day of it. Here’s our pick of the best places to get your pumpkin this Halloween

  1. Cairnie Fruit Farm, Cupar
    Cairnie Fruit Farm’s Pumpkin Patch is open for business and this year they are celebrating 20 years of pick your own pumpkins. They have a huge range of sizes, shapes and colours. www.cairniefruitfarm.co.uk
  2. Craigies Farm, South Queensferry
    This is a family run farm just outside of Edinburgh and is the closest farm shop to the city. They have good availability of apples, pumpkins and blackberries www.craigies.co.uk
  3. Arnprior Farm, Stirling
    With over 7000 pumpkins for you to choose from, you’ll find big orange ones, green warty ones, white ones and stripy ones, whatever takes your fancy. www.arnpriorfarm.com
How to carve your pumpkin?

Now that you’ve selected your perfect pumpkin the next stage is to create your spooky masterpiece. Once carved a pumpkin will last for about 4/5 days, so only carve when you are ready to display it. Here’s some tips to help you along the way…

  1. Always cut from the bottom of the pumpkin and not the top. Cutting your lid from the bottom of the pumpkin helps prevent the sides from caving in later. Use a sharp knife with a serrated blade to do this.
  2. Use a large serving spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibres. Then remove some of the flesh. Ideally you want to thin the walls so they’re just an inch or so thick. This makes carving easier and more light will shine through the surface.
  3. Use a template for your design. You can either create your own or find templates online, like www.pumpkinpile.com
  4. Secure the template to the front of your pumpkin. Carefully trace the image by poking holes along the lines, using a sharp pointed tool, like an ice pick or nail. Once finished, remove the template
  5. It’s time to carve! Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut out your design, starting at the centre and working outwards. Sawing in short, back and forth movements is easier to control than slicing.
  6. Now you can put a candle or a lamp inside and enjoy your work.

RECIPE: TOFFEE APPLES

It’s not just about pumpkins this Halloween. If you are looking for a treat then try your hand at this easy toffee apple recipe – it’s scarily good! We didn’t have to go far to get our apples, we picked them from the garden at the back of our studio.

 

Ingredients:
Preparation:
  1. Place the apples in a large bowl, then cover with boiling water. This will remove the waxy coating and help the caramel to stick.
  2. Leave them to sit for 1 minute and then drain and dry with kitchen roll.
  3. Push a wooden skewer into the stalk end of each apple. Rest the apples, skewers up, on a baking tray lined with nonstick baking paper.
  4. Add 300g of golden caster sugar to a medium-sized pan with 3 tbsp of golden syrup and 5 tbsp of water.
  5. Swirl the water so it covers the sugar but do not stir.
  6. Heat the mixture on a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  7. Turn up the heat and boil the sugar syrup until it reaches 140°C on a sugar thermometer.
  8. Don’t stir the caramel at any time, you can just swirl it around gently in the pan.
  9. Once the toffee has reached 140°c, quickly and carefully dip and twist each apple in the hot toffee until covered
  10. Repeat quickly with the other apples. If the mixture becomes too stiff, return it to the heat for a minute until it has softened.
  11. Immediately after the apples are dipped, sprinkle them with nuts, sprinkles or chopped dried fruits. Make sure to sprinkle the toppings over the apple rather than dipping the apples into the bowl – you don’t want them to set in the bowl!
  12. Leave to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and then enjoy.