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Should You Get a Gourd Tool?
We tested three tools, rating them on their ability to scoop, de-string, and cut (where applicable) honeydew melons, butternut squash, and pumpkins.
What You Need To Know
We typically use a soupspoon to scoop out seeds and strings from pumpkin, squash, melons, and other members of the gourd family. But the Messermeister Pro-Touch Plus Culinary Spoon ($12.95) and the Chef’n ScoopSaw Squash and Melon Tool ($9.99) promise to make this cleaning process easier. To test these claims, we pitted both tools against our trusty spoon, using each to scoop halved honeydew melons, butternut squash, and pumpkins. In addition, we tested a fleshing tool ($6.99); while it’s primarily used for taxidermy and sculpting clay, this sharp, serrated metal loop has found favor with serious pumpkin carvers. Finally, because the ScoopSaw also features a narrow, flexible keyhole saw nested inside its hollow handle, we pitted it against a chef’s knife and a paring knife to see which made it safest and easiest to cut each of the gourds—slicing the melon into wedges, cubing the butternut squash, and carving a pumpkin.
None of the tools proved better than the spoon at removing the strings and seeds from the gourds. The notched edges of both the Messermeister spoon and the fleshing tool combed through the strings without taking them all out; they also gouged unsightly grooves into the gourds’ flesh. At least the ScoopSaw’s blunt but smooth-edged paddle inflicted no damage on the gourds, scooping them out almost as cleanly and thoroughly as the soupspoon. And although its serrated knife wasn’t great at cubing squash or slicing melon, it did a good job of topping and carving the pumpkin. We don’t think any of these tools should be used to clean or cut melon and squash, but if you carve a lot of pumpkins, the ScoopSaw might be a worthwhile investment.
Everything We Tested
Recommended with reservations
- Safety: 2.5 stars out of 3.
- Performance: 2 stars out of 3.
The ScoopSaw’s scoop cleaned gourds about as well as a soupspoon. Unfortunately, stray gourd debris tended to get stuck in the scoop’s hollow handle; because the tool isn’t dishwasher-safe, cleaning it by hand can be a pain. And while its thin and flexible serrated blade (it rests inside its handle) sawed squash and melon into ragged slices, it felt secure while carving pumpkins, making precise cuts without fear of slipping.
- Safety: 2 stars out of 3.
- Performance: 1.5 stars out of 3.
Recommended by some carving enthusiasts, this fleshing tool—a serrated loop used by taxidermists to strip animal pelts—had sharp edges that raked through gourd strings and bit off more soft melon than we would have liked.
- Safety: 3 stars out of 3.
- Performance: 0.5 stars out of 3.
The notches in this spoon combed through gourd strings and left deep gouges in the gourd flesh. Lacking sharp edges, this tool was safe to use, but it simply wasn’t effective.
Reviews you can trust
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.