from: Pumpkin Patches and More
Did you carve a great pumpkin last year only to have it rot days before Halloween? Here’s how to preserve and protect it!
What causes the pumpkin to decay?
There are several primary causes heartbreak of “pumpkin rot”
- The intact skin of a pumpkin protects it until you carve it. But then various organisms (fungi, bacteria, molds, fungi, protozoans, insects – scientifically know as “those little buggers!”) can get inside and start to break it down.
- Oxygen in the air can also easily enter and break down the pumpkin (oxidation).
- Simple dehydration (drying out) will will begin the moment the pumpkin is carved.
All of this will turn your carved young happy pumpkin face into a sad old man in several days time!
How to stop pumpkin aging:
Get Dad’s Rogaine and Mom’s Botox…. no, just kidding! What we need to do is
- Sterilize the pumpkin’s carved surfaces (to kill fungi, mold, bacteria, bugs)
- Seal the surfaces to prevent drying and to keep out new “little buggers” and reduce drying
Essentially, we’re going to embalm your Jack O’Lantern, just like the ancient Egyptians did their mummies! (Hey, maybe they practiced on pumpkins!)
Here are the simple steps:
- Remove dirt: Wipe the exterior surfaces of the pumpkin clean using a damp cloth.
- Make a bleach solution of1 tablespoon of bleach (typical brand name “Clorox) per quart of water and put it in a spray bottle.
- Spray the pumpkin inside and all cut areas of the pumpkin with the solution. This will kill much of the surface bacteria and mold that cause rotting.
- Let it penetrate and dry for about 20 minutes
- Next, rub all of the carved or cut surfaces with petroleum jelly. This will keep out new bacteria and molds as well as dramatically reduce the dehydration!
- Wipe away excess with a paper towel!
- Now, keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight and try to keep it as cool as possible (but above freezing!) and you should get at least a week’s enjoyment out of it! Then when it’s time to go, you can employ several thousand laborers to build a giant pyramid in your backyard to entomb your Jack O’Mummy! Next week: building a pumpkin sarcophagus! Ok, maybe we’re getting carried away. But hey, kids love the analogy; anything having to do with mummies or dinosaurs!