No one likes to see a rotting pumpkin, especially before it even gets its night to shine on Halloween! For those of you preparing to carve up your very own jack-o-lanterns soon, there are a few things you should know about keeping your pumpkin bright and orange for longer. Make your Halloween pumpkin to be scary for the right reasons this season, and follow these handy pumpkin carving tips!
Picking Your Pumpkin An uncut pumpkin straight from the patch is your best bet for a truly fresh gourd. However, if you get your pumpkin from the grocery store, all is not lost. Pick a pumpkin that's very firm with no soft spots and minimal blemishing on the skin. It's also better if the pumpkin has been sitting in the shade rather than in the sun!
Cleaning the Pumpkin Make sure your pumpkin is as free from soft pulp as possible. You want a clean, even surface, especially if you end up applying any kind of preservative to your pumpkins. Lots of crevices and soft pulp will just encourage the growth of bacteria and be harder to take care of overall.
Vaseline Treatment (or Hairspray) Keep your pumpkin hydrated with a nice rubdown with vaseline! It'll help keep the cut edges of your pumpkin from softening too quickly (and keep the rest of it plump too). Hairspray also works to seal in the moisture of your pumpkin! A light coating of hairspray around all the cut, exposed parts of your pumpkin can go a long way in keeping it looking good.
Soak or Spray a Bleach Solution The most extreme, but very effective method of keeping your pumpkin fresh is giving it a nice long soak in a bleach solution (or just giving it a thorough spray-down). You just need 1 tsp of bleach per gallon of water for the soak, or 1 tsp for a quart of water for the spray! The water helps hydrate the pumpkin flesh, and the bleach acts as an anti-microbial to keep your pumpkin from molding too quickly. Remember to let your pumpkin dry out completely too, as residual liquid solution left in pools in your pumpkin can speed up decay too.
General Care and Treatment Finally, you want to treat your carved pumpkin well by keeping it out of direct sunlight, lighting it with electronic lights rather than real candles if possible, and keeping it in the fridge (or another cool, dark place) during the daytime.
With these methods, you might be able to enjoy your carved pumpkin for as long as 2 whole weeks before its inevitable and unfortunate demise!
Photo from Wide Photos