If you’ve ever wondered how to make carved pumpkins last longer, it’s probably because you’ve dealt with a rotten pumpkin or two. Imagine your beautiful, carved pumpkin forming mold and changing colors after just a few days. There’s your Halloween masterpiece gone to waste!
How to Make Carved Pumpkins Last Longer
While preventing a pumpkin from eventually rotting is impossible, you can delay the process with some tricks and hacks. Dehydration and mold growth are the main reasons a pumpkin rots, therefore, coming up with ways to prevent both will help you keep your carved pumpkin looking beautiful and healthy much longer than it otherwise would have.
1. Start with a Healthy Pumpkin
Before we even get into any tips or hacks you can use to keep your carved pumpkin fresh, it’s important to note that one of the best tips for making a carved pumpkin last longer is to start off with a healthy pumpkin.
Look for a pumpkin that doesn’t have any dings, soft spots, or bruising. While a picture perfect pumpkin may be unrealistic in your hunt, for the most part, the pumpkin shouldn’t have any major dents or blemishes.
2. Keep the Stem Intact
When you’re picking out a pumpkin, you’ll want to look for one that has a longer stem. The stem should be at least 1 to 2 inches long; any shorter than that, and your pumpkin is likely to rot sooner.
When you’re carving your pumpkin, you want to make sure you keep the stem intact. Professional carvers typically carve their pumpkins cutting out a hole from the back of the pumpkin rather than the top. The stem still provides nutrients to the pumpkin, helping it stay fresh longer.
3. Clean the Inside of the Pumpkin Well
While you probably already know that you need to clean out the seeds, flesh, and stringy parts from your pumpkin, you may not realize just how thorough you need to be.
You should be sure to scrape off as much of the gunk inside the pumpkin as you can to keep the inside of your pumpkin from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria or fungi.
4. Wash Your Pumpkin with Bleach
Using bleach to wash your pumpkin is basically like giving your pumpkin an antifungal wash. You can bleach clean your pumpkins a couple of different ways:
- Soak the pumpkins in a bleach bath. For every gallon of water, add one teaspoon of bleach. Let the pumpkins soak in this solution for 4 to 6 hours, turning them over every now and then.
- Create a bleach spray to spritz all over your pumpkin (along with the inside) every day to keep the pumpkin clean.
Even if you decide to soak your pumpkin in a bath, it’s usefully to spray the pumpkin every day too.
Apply vaseline all along the carved parts of your pumpkin to keep your pumpkin “moisturized.” This may sound silly, but this tip truly works.
The Vaseline keeps the pumpkin hydrated which prevents mold growth and keeps the pumpkin looking fresh.
6. Store-Bought Pumpkin Preserver
Did you know they actually sell sprays dedicated to preserving your pumpkin? Find sprays like Pumpkin Fresh at major supermarkets and online retailers for a few dollars and spritz your pumpkin with them to keep it looking fresh and pretty.
7. Cooking Oils
Cooking oils like coconut oil can be applied to your pumpkin to help keep your pumpkin hydrated, much like Vaseline does. The oil should be rubbed all over the pumpkin and the carved parts for the best results.
8. Set Up a Fruit Fly Trap
Like most fruits, pumpkins attract little fruit flies to themselves. This can cause a bug infestation that will damage your beautifully carved pumpkin.
To keep the fruit flies from making a mess, set up an equally appealing trap near your pumpkin so that the fruit flies visit that rather than your pumpkin.