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By Cynthia Haggitt
During the fall, alot of neighborhood porches light up the night and, during the day, the decorative pumpkins have grabbed my attention. I started wondering what homeowners do to preserve their pumpkins. Is there a secret spell or a magic potion? Well, after some research, I found out there is. According to an article from ‘Better Homes and Gardens’- ‘How to Preserve your Pumpkins’ here are few tips and tricks that can help you keep your pumpkins from turning into a rotting nightmare and they are as follows:
“1. Pick a healthy pumpkin
It all begins with the pumpkin you pick—the fewer the spots and bruises, the better. Imperfections give pumpkins their character, but they also invite rotting.”
“2. Avoid carving until you need to
When you decide to cut into your pumpkin, remember to gut the insides before you carve it up; do not leave any of the guts from the pumpkin(strings or seeds); it will just invite bacteria to grow.”
“3. Give it a soak
Give your pumpkins a bath in bleach to help preserve both whole and carved pumpkins. Wear some gloves for protection and then prepare a soak of one to two teaspoons of bleach in a gallon of water. Leave your pumpkin (carved or uncarved) soaking in this wash for anywhere from an hour to overnight. Bleach is an antifungal agent and an oxidizer, and will slow the natural decomposition process.
Because not everybody is a fan of bleach, an alternative is to dilute one tablespoon of peppermint dish soap, such as this castile soap, in a quart of water. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle and lightly spritz the inside and outside of your pumpkin, then allow to dry.
You can either pour some vinegar directly on a rag, and use it to wipe down both the outside and inside. Or, you can mix one part vinegar with 10 parts water in a large tub and let the entire thing soak in there for about 30 minutes.
Another alternative is smear petroleum jelly all over the outside and inside of your pumpkin to keep it from drying out. If you want to keep away pests, mix the petroleum jelly with hairspray, acrylic finish spray, and Tabasco sauce. A few additional tips to prevent carved pumpkins from rotting: use battery-operated lights instead of real candles inside the pumpkin.”
– Cynthia is the editor for River County News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.