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The Pumpkin Gutter
September 17, 2007
First pumpkin of the season
The Pumpkin Gutter attached to drill
The "before" shot
Guts are easily removed
Done in less than 5 minutes
That's pretty good!
Jack-o-Lantern lit and ready for Halloween in 10 minutes!
If you're like me, you like to carve a lot of pumpkins during the Halloween season. And if you're like me your least favorite part of the process is gutting the pumpkins. But properly gutting the pumpkins is perhaps the most important part of carving a traditional jack-o-lantern.
The pumpkin's guts should be completely removed not only for appearance sake but to limit smoking and burning and to increase light output. To aid in carving and transmission of light, the walls of the pumpkin should be shaved to about an inch thick. This cleaning process can result in a lot of messy and arm numbing work especially if you favor large pumpkins and/or have many of them.
Over the years I've tried numerous things in an effort to make the process quicker and easier, different types of utensils, woodworking tools, home fashioned scrapers of various sizes and materials. Some worked ok, others were useless. In the end I always resigned myself to the saying that nothing worth doing is easy.
So I got a little excited late last year when I saw a product that looked like it could make this part of the job much easier. The product was called The Pumpkin Gutter by Dakota Products, LLC. The Pumpkin Gutter claims to be "a quick and easy way to remove pumpkin seeds and strings". It's a $12 device that attaches to an electric drill and looks a little like a kitchen mixer or paint stirrer. I didn't get a chance to purchase one last year but when I saw it again this year and with the Halloween season rapidly approaching I thought I really have to give this a try and sent in an order.
Using The Pumpkin Gutter
The Pumpkin Gutter arrived by USPS a few days later smartly packaged in molded plastic. As I opened the package I was excited but had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that this would be yet another gimmick product and a waste of money.
Fortunately, we had been to Pastorino's Pumpkin Patch during the week and I had charged my cordless drill's batteries in anticipation of The Pumpkin Gutter's arrival so there was nothing to stop me from diving right in.
I laid out some newspaper on the dining room table and plopped down my pumpkin. It's a medium sized pumpkin about 12" in height. Pretty standard for what most people will bring home from the local pumpkin patch or supermarket.
I followed the instructions and started the drill on a medium speed and inserted it into my pumpkin. At first it just kind of pushed the guts aside. "Damn, gimmick" I thought. Then I moved it to the wall of the pumpkin and went full speed. Any thought of this device being a gimmick or waste of money quickly left my mind. Guts weren't flying but they were quickly being neatly cut from the wall of the pumpkin and deposited in the center. "I'll be damned! This is really working." Some of the guts did wrap themselves around the shaft of The Pumpkin Gutter but getting rid of them was as quick as popping the gutter off the drill and sliding them off the highly polished shaft. A process that couldn't have taken more than two seconds.
I removed the guts from the sides of the pumpkin in less than two minutes including taking time out to call people over to watch. A quick flip of the pumpkin and half the guts were on the newspaper. Diving back in to tackle the bottom I found that it's best to hold The Pumpkin Gutter at a slight angle so the blades can more easily catch the flesh. Another minute or so of work and another flip and the pumpkin was completely gutted. The only thing left was to thin down the walls. At this point I couldn't stop people from ripping the gutter out of my hands so they could have a try.
A few more minutes spent carving a simple face on my pumpkin and I was done. Not counting breaks so people could play with the drill, marvel at The Pumpkin Gutter, and our collective oohs and ahhs I spent a total of 10 minutes working on the pumpkin and more than half of that was actual carving. This was quite possibly the best $12 I've ever spent on any Halloween product.
Except for taking some of the guts off The Pumpkin Gutter, at no point during this whole operation did I come into contact with the pumpkin's innards. Removing the guts from the shaft was really only necessary at the end during cleanup but since I really wanted to see the cutting action I removed them a total of three times. Other than visually, removing them or not didn't seem to affect The Pumpkin Gutter's performance. True to their claim, The Pumpkin Gutter didn't damage the pumpkin seeds in the least and if one wanted, they can be removed from the discarded guts easily for roasting.
Of note for people who like large pumpkins, The Pumpkin Gutter is 12" in length overall. This is reduced to about 11" when attached to the drill. We had no problem gutting our 12" pumpkin and without an extension or other tools it looks like we could handle a 16"-17" tall pumpkin. This, of course, will depend on your particular drill.
Update 9/24/07: It should be pointed out that provided a large enough hole is cut to accommodate your drill, any size pumpkin can be comfortably gutted as can be seen in this photo of a 500+ lb pumpkin after processing by The Pumpkin Gutter.
Does it work? The Short Answer
So to answer the question more succinctly, does The Pumpkin Gutter work? Hell Yeah! It's Quick, easy, no mess, no fuss, fun for the whole family. From a pumpkin sitting on your table to lit jack-o-lantern in 10 minutes baby! Get yourself over to the Get Carving Quicker website and order not one but two because once people see how easy this is they will undoubtedly steal it from you.
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