Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Did you buy your Halloween pumpkin early in October, or carve it more than a week before Halloween? If so, you may have trouble with a shriveled or moldy mess before the end of the month. Sadly, you may need to get rid of the Halloween pumpkin before Halloween if you don't take care of it. Here's how to keep a Halloween pumpkin fresh:
Choose a good pumpkin. To keep a Halloween pumpkin fresh for longer, it's important to choose a fresh pumpkin to begin with. The pumpkin should be firm. Avoid those that are bruised or cut, or that are already developing soft spots.
Avoid cutting it. The best way to keep a Halloween pumpkin fresh is to avoid carving it early in the month. Halloween pumpkins should be carved as close to the actual holiday as possible. If you've already carved it or can't wait any longer, however, there are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your Jack-o-Lantern.
Keep in a cool spot. Keep the pumpkin in a cool spot. The warmth in a house can cause mold to grow; for best results, keep a Halloween pumpkin outside, and preferably more than a foot or two away from the house. Still, keep your pumpkin out of the sun, rain, or freezing temperatures, as these will shorten its life.
Use bleach. Soak your pumpkin in a bleach and water mixture, or brush it onto all cut surfaces. This will keep mold from growing.
Preserve the pumpkin. Besides mold, Halloween pumpkins are also very susceptible to drying out, and the cut edges quickly gain a shriveled appearance. Petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, can be used to seal the cut edges. Spraying the inside with hairspray may also help to lock in the moisture. Wrapping it in plastic wrap has the same effect, and should be done if you do not plan to display your Halloween pumpkin for a while.
Give it a bath. As the pumpkin begins to shrivel, place it in a tub of water. The worse it has shriveled, the longer the bath needs to be. The pumpkin will soak up the water and become less shriveled. Afterwards, dry out the inside.
Spray it periodically. Spraying both the inside and cut edges in a mild bleach/water solution using a spray bottle can keep the pumpkin hydrated and prevent mold growth, keeping the Halloween pumpkin fresh over a longer period of time.
Halloween pumpkins are fun to carve, but unfortunately they can't last forever. Eventually they will succumb to dehydration or mold. If you follow these tips, however, you can keep your Halloween pumpkin fresh all month long.