Carving Turnips


I’ve finished carving my turnip for the Samhain celebrations.  I carve turnips because my ancestors would have carved these instead of pumpkins, and also I don’t like the taste of pumpkin, so the innards go in the bin.  If I use a turnip then I’ll eat the innards.

Tools needed : 1 gurt big knife, 1 small knife and 1 potato peeler.

First take the gurt big knife and slice the top off the turnip.  Use the small knife to make cuts round the edge of the turnip.  Then use the potato peeler to gouge out a core in the centre.  Then you can really get started, by either using the small knife or the potato peeler to gouge out chunks of turnip.

Gouge out enough turnip till you think you have then got to the bottom of the turnip.  This will take around half an hour to do so.  Then you can start to carve the face with the small knife.

You will probably get as far as carving the smile and then realise that you are carving into the unhollowed out base of the turnip.  This always happens to me, and I have to go back and hollow out some more of the base and the sides.  Somehow I carve away from the sides, which leads to a thickening of the sides as I go down and then I mistakenly think I’ve got to the bottom when I haven’t.  I then go back and finish carving the face.

In previous years, I have always left the lid off because if you put the lid on a turnip there isn’t enough air for a candle to burn.  This year I’ve experimented with putting holes in the lid, so I’ll post later and tell you if it worked or not.

My betrothed made me a handle for the turnip, which I can attach to turn it into a turnip lantern.  In previous years I’ve carved out a candle holder at the bottom of the turnip, but since we’re staying in the kitchen this year I won’t bother.

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1 Comment

  1. November 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    The holes in the lid did let in enough air to keep the candle alight, but the candle flame started burning the turnip.


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