How we tested
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.
We tested three tools, priced from $6.99 to $12.95, rating them on their ability to scoop, de-string, and cut (where applicable) honeydew melons, butternut squash, and pumpkins. We timed how long it took for each tool to complete each task and compared their performances to that of a soupspoon (and chef’s knife). We also evaluated how safe they were to use. All models were purchased online; they are ranked in order of preference.
SAFETY: Tools that didn’t slip and that felt safe and secure in the hand were rated more highly.
PERFORMANCE: We gave more points to tools that scooped the gourds precisely and cleanly, removed strings easily, and cut the gourds quickly and neatly.