We are to fall even though it feels like Indian Summer at times. The kids are all talking about Halloween and the best pumpkin patch to go to. Pumpkins make great fall decorations, not only for Halloween but all the way through to Thanksgiving. But we all face the thorny issue of messy pumpkins on the porch, way before Halloween and certainly before Thanksgiving. So how do you preserve your pumpkin so you can actually enjoy them as decorations for a few weeks or a month?
We have some ingenious tips for being able to enjoy your carved pumpkins for longer periods of time. No one wants to deal with a sunken, fly invested, moldy pumpkin, yuck! So here are some tips that might help you enjoy your carved pumpkin longer.
To extend the life of your pumpkins, it’s best to handle them as little as possible. The only time you should touch your pumpkin is when you pick it, unload at home, clean it out, and carve your pumpkin. Carry your pumpkin like a bag of groceries from the bottom and cradle it, don’t hold your pumpkin by the stem. Broken pumpkin stems let in bacteria and start the aging and rotting process much faster.
The oil and bacteria from your hands can speed up the pumpkin decomposition process quickly. So only touch your pumpkin when you really need to. Dropping, bruising, or fingernail scratches can all start the rotting process quicker. In the best of all worlds, once carved place your pumpkin in it’s desired home for the season and don’t touch it again.
Most of us like to decorate our pathway or porch with pumpkins, but keep in mind how the sun hits your house and yard when finding the best placement for your carved pumpkins. Pumpkins like a covered porch–a dry and shaded spot for the season.
The extremes are what quicken the pumpkin decaying process; so rain and sun are the pumpkins enemy for a long season on your porch. Too much sun will dry out your pumpkin, while moisture from rain can lead to mold and mush! So a sheltered placement for your fall pumpkin decorations is best.
When you are cleaning out your pumpkin make sure the insides are completely dry and free of all seeds. Before starting to carve your pumpkins let the inside cavity dry out completely; moisture inside the pumpkin is the pumpkin’s enemy because moisture with air exposure from carving will lead to quicker rotting.
Mix one part bleach and ten parts water in a large container or your bathtub if you have a lot of pumpkins to wash. Bathe your pumpkins in this solution for about two minutes. The pumpkin will tend to want to float so you need to make sure that it is rotated in the bathwater so all the sides have been covered. Let the pumpkins dry completely in the spot you have chosen for their fall home.
Be very sure the base and stem are very dry because this is where water tends to pool and not dry completely. You can also use the bath solution as a daily spray to keep bacteria from forming on your pumpkins and keeping them healthy, just make sure no water is pooling and they are dry at the end of the process.
I know, this starts to get confusing, first, we tell you to make sure your pumpkin is totally dry on the inside with no gut residue, and now we are telling you to moisturize your pumpkin. What gives? Carving pumpkins speeds up the decaying process, so best to do the first steps and have an un-carved pumpkin up until a week before Halloween, it gives your pumpkin the best chance of a hardy long life.
If you do decide to carve your pumpkin from the start rub-down the insides after carving with olive oil to moisturize your pumpkin. Since this is an oil, it’s best to use a battery-operated candle in your pumpkins since battery-operated candles produce less heat, they don’t speed up the pumpkin decaying process as much.
Anything from fruit flies to a pesky raccoon family can mean a shorter life for your pumpkins! Put your pumpkin up on a porch, a hay bail, or windowsill to keep squirrels and raccoons using your pumpkins as a snack food. The full proof method to keep fruit flies away is a large mason jar with punches made in the lid and wine or beer added to the inside of the mason jar. The fruit flies can get in, but they can’t fly back out.
This is a two in one remedy; us a peppermint-based spray for your pumpkins. Mix some peppermint liquid soap with peppermint essential oil. Peppermint has anti-fungal properties, plus both fruit flies and ants don’t like peppermint. The peppermint oil spray will keep your pumpkin soft and smooth when they begin to dry out, plus it’s a great natural pest deterrent.
You put a lot of time into finding the perfect pumpkin, carving it, and adding it to your fall decorations, the above tips will help ensure that your pumpkins have the longest life possible during our fall holiday season. Happy Halloween!
This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to make roasted pumpkin seeds; a great treat that is tasty and nutritious! Follow these simple steps:
Many times your fresh roasted pumpkin seeds are such a treat that there won’t be any to store especially if you have children in the house.
Enjoy pumpkin carving this year with some of our great tips above ensuring that your pumpkin will have the longest life possible as a decoration on your porch or walkway this year. Let us know what you choose as olive oil and seasoning combinations for your pumpkin seeds, share with us via email with photos or on our Facebook page!