As autumn continues and Halloween approaches, many people will be purchasing pumpkins to decorate their doorsteps and their property’s interior. A freshly carved pumpkin can look amazing, especially when it’s lit up with lights.
However, pumpkins can quickly turn bad which doesn’t only look unsightly but can smell unpleasant too.
With this in mind, and with the spooky season creeping closer, gardening expert and horticulturalist Leslie Vincent of Atkins has provided his five tips on how to keep your pumpkins fresh all the way up to October 31.
1. Choose the right time to pick and carve
Once a pumpkin is cut into, the lifespan of the fruit significantly decreases so choosing the right time to pick and carve is essential to the longevity of your pumpkin.
Leslie said: “Before carving, a pumpkin can last around a month at room temperature, but once you begin creating your masterpieces and hollowing out the fruit you’ve got around three to seven days before the pumpkin rots.
“If you want your pumpkin to be in pristine condition for the big day, we’d recommend purchasing a locally sourced pumpkin around 14 days before Halloween and carving 10 days before October 31.”
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3. Use bleach
This “trick” can add around a week to the lifespan of a carved pumpkin as it effectively kills off bacteria and organisms that exist on the skin of the pumpkin.
With the bacteria and organisms gone, the rotting process is slowed down. Leslie has explained how the method works so you can try it at home.
He explained: “Once you’ve carved your pumpkin out, give it a good rinse. Grab a large bucket (big enough for the pumpkin to be fully submerged in) and fill it up with water.
“Drop in around three teaspoons of bleach and then place the pumpkin in the solution and hold it down. You should keep the pumpkin in the water for around 2-3 minutes. After this, take it out and leave it to dry, job done!”
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5. Final tips
The gardening expert suggests keeping your pumpkin “as moist as you possibly can” so it lasts longer.
He said: “When you carve the pumpkin you’re turbocharging the oxidation process, which leads to rotting.
“Mist the pumpkin with water on a regular basis. On this note, we also recommend avoiding candles and flames in or near the pumpkin as this only dries the fruit out further.
“LEDs are the way to go. If you’re placing the pumpkin outside try and keep them in a dry, covered spot –too much sun will have the pumpkins looking mushy in no time. Similarly, too much rain can create mould so keep it covered!”