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Tips & Hacks

Pumpkin Preservation

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If you enjoy the tradition of carving a fresh pumpkin to display on the porch or in the front window, follow these seven tips to help make your handiwork last longer:

1. Clean off any debris from the outside of your pumpkin and then brush it with a solution composed of 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and one quart of water.

2. Instead of cutting a circle around the stem to create a lid, make a hole in the bottom and remove the piece. This will allow you to place your carved jack-o’-lantern over a candle and prevent moisture from collecting at the bottom. Consider using a battery-operated candle to avoid excessive heat, which causes drying.

3. The moisture from pumpkin pulp and seeds is a magnet for bacteria and fruit flies, so scrape out as much of the inside as possible.

4. If you prefer a more natural alternative to bleach to help slow the rotting process, consider spraying diluted peppermint castile soap on the inside and outside (about 1 tablespoon per 4 cups of water in a clean spray bottle). It will work wonders thanks to peppermint’s antifungal properties.

5. Rub petroleum jelly on the interior and the carved parts to keep the pumpkin from drying out and changing shape.

6. Extend the lifespan of your carved pumpkin by giving it an extra spritz of the peppermint solution, wrapping it in a plastic bag, and storing it in the fridge overnight instead of leaving it outside.

7. If you find that your pumpkin has taken a turn for the worse despite all your best efforts, don’t worry! For a quick, short-term fix, soak it in a bucket of cool water for a few hours and then drain it thoroughly.

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