Many families spend time together every October picking out pumpkins to carve for Halloween. Carving is usually done shortly before October 31st, not allowing most to enjoy the glowing jack-o-lantern it has been transformed too. However, with a little bit of know how and extra work you can extend the life of your carved pumpkin!
Pumpkins are protected by their skin, once carved you are breaking the protective barrier the skin creates. Once carved organisms such as bacteria, mold and fungi begin to attack and start breaking down the pumpkin. Oxygen in the air also begins to dehydrate the pumpkin. Below are some simple steps to follow to help slow down the dehydration and rotting of your pumpkin.
How To Preserve Your Pumpkin
- Step 1: Clean Your Pumpkin! Remove all excess dirt from the surface of your pumpkin.
- Step 2: Create a bleach solution, by mixing 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 quart of water. (Mixing in a spray bottle will be best) Use this to spray down the surface of your pumpkin, the bleach will kill the bacteria and mold on the pumpkin.
- Step 3: Once you have carved your pumpkin spray all cut areas along with the inside to kill any other bacteria and mold.
- Step 4: Once your pumpkin has dried from being sprayed (About 20 Mins), rub petroleum jelly on the carved surfaces and interior of your pumpkin. This will act as a protective barrier from new bacteria and help slow down the dehydration process.
- Step 5: Keep your jack-o-lantern out of direct sunlight and out of below freezing weather.
If you have followed all of these steps you should get at least 1 week of enjoyment out of your jack-o-lantern, if not a little longer. Save your bleach spray and use it on your pumpkin daily for extra protection.