October is here, which means its time to gather those pumpkins and carve them! One downfall of carving pumpkins, is timing. It’s the constant worry that ‘Maybe I’m carving them too early.’ or ‘I really hope these last to halloween.’ You can carve a sprightly Jack-O-Latern but in a week or two you can have a decrepit ghoul sitting on your porch. There are a few factors to why pumpkins age like they do after being carved. Oxygen in the air can easily enter and break down the pumpkin through oxidation, Once you carve the pumpkin it is susceptible to fungi, bacteria and mold which can shorten the life and simple dehydration sets in as soon as you make the first carving. Here are some steps you can do that will extend your carved pumpkins life.
- Remove all dirt on the pumpkin using a damp cloth.
- Make a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water and pour into an easy spray bottle.
- Spray inside and out of all the cut areas of the pumpkin with the solution (this will kill most of the surface bacteria that cause rotting.)
- Let it sit and dry for 20 minutes.
- Rub all of the carved surfaces with petroleum jelly (this keeps out new bacteria and also reduces dehydration rate dramatically!)
- Wipe all the excess petroleum away.
- Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight and try to keep it cool without freezing, and you should be able to extend your pumpkins life by about a week!
Thank you to Pumpkin Patches and More for the original information. You can read more here.