Wish you could make your pumpkins last longer than the usual couple of weeks? Try these simple tricks!
Pumpkins are organic things. No matter what you do, your pumpkin will eventually rot, but there are some things you can do to get the longest life out of your Halloween pumpkin.
Extending the usefulness of your pumpkin is a matter of keeping it hydrated while inhibiting rot, mold and bacteria growth. Keeping hungry critters away is also important.
Give yourself a good start with a firm pumpkin that doesn’t have any soft spots or blemishes on the skin. Store uncut pumpkins in a cool, dry place to keep them fresh longer. Wait as long as possible to cut your pumpkin.
A solution of bleach and water can inhibit bacteria and mold growth on cut pumpkins. If you use any solution containing bleach, it’s important to apply it in a protected area in case of overspray, and to wear household rubber gloves to protect your skin. Mix one part bleach with ten parts water, which you then spray or wipe on all inside and outside surfaces of the pumpkin. ExtremePumpkins.com suggests spraying household cleaner that contains bleach on all cut surfaces, including the interior and the underside of the pumpkin’s cap, to make the pumpkin last about twice as long as it might with no treatment at all. Another site suggests also misting the cut pumpkin daily with the bleach cleaner to help kill off anything trying to grow on it.
Keeping the pumpkin cool but not frozen, protected from rain and out of direct sunlight, can help as can keeping the shell as thick as possible, by scraping as little as you can from the inside.
If the weather is warm, you could consider putting your pumpkin in the refrigerator or in a cool place such as your garage when it is not on display. Candles also heat the inside of the pumpkin more than battery-operated tea lights or glow sticks, and that extra heat can speed up rot and mold growth.
If it shrivels because of dehydration, a soak in water for several hours or even overnight can help revive the dried out pumpkin.
If your problem is critters that like to eat your pumpkins, you could try spraying them with hairspray, acrylic finish spray or smearing hot sauce mixed with petroleum jelly on the pumpkin. Each of those can be effective repellents.