Extending the Life of Your Carved Pumpkin

Ghost, ghouls, candy, and (my favorite) pumpkins! I get a little crazy scouring the web and magazines for new patterns and carving techniques. My least favorite part? When my intricately carved creation meets a premature demise and is nothing but gross fuzzy mold and mush by the time the kids come knocking on the door.

So how do you prevent the mold and rot from creeping-in before the big day? If you do a search online you'll get a few repeated suggestions over and over. It makes me wonder if the folks touting these so-called solutions have ever tried them, because they sound like bad ideas from the outset. One is to use vaseline or white glue and smear it over the inside and cut edges of the pumpkin. Another is to spray clear acrylic inside the gourd.

The folks at My Science Project did an exhaustive test and rendered all three of those options as bad ideas. The winners were the "control" (untreated) pumpkin, the one treated with a very weak bleach solution and another with a commercially available pumpkin preservative.

Here are some tips to really decelerate the demise of your carved masterpiece:

  • Each day soak the pumpkin in water for 15-30 minutes. Dry inside with a towel so water doesn't pool.
  • Don't use a candle. It will dry the pumpkin out faster. Use a rechargeable light or white LED Christmas lights
  • Pumpkin Fresh is a non-toxic, biodegradable preservative that you spray on your pumpkin. It claims to make your cut pumpkin last for 14 days.

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(Image: Michelle Chin)

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