tips to prolong pumpkin life
Photo by Olivia Spink on Unsplash

Here are some practical pumpkin-preserving tips:

Article written by Leslie Vincent, Expert Horticulturist from Atkins Gardenworld in Ireland.

  1. Once you cut into a pumpkin the lifespan of the fruit significantly decreases. A pumpkin can last around a month at room temperature, but once carved it begins to rot in 3-7 days. For perfect holiday display, purchase a locally sourced pumpkin around 14 days before Halloween and carve 10 days before the 31st.
  2. Pumpkins rot so quickly after carving because they lose nearly 90% of their moisture content and the remaining moisture needs to be protected and retained. Mineral oil is one of the main ingredients in WD-40. Coat the outside and inside of the pumpkin with the spray after carving. This will keep your pumpkin looking fresh for far longer. HOWEVER, WD-40 is flammable so if you plan on lighting up the Jack-O-Lantern, use an LED light as opposed to an actual candle.
  3. Soaking a pumpkin in bleach can add around a week to the lifespan of the pumpkin. This effectively kills off any bacteria and organisms that exist on the skin of the fruit and without these present the rotting process is staved off for a little while longer. Once the pumpkin has been carved, give it a good rinse. Fully submerse in a large bucket add three teaspoons of bleach and then place the pumpkin in the solution and hold it down for around 2-3 minutes. Then remove and allow to dry.
  4. Vinegar works just as well as bleach if you prefer as it rids the pumpkin of any fungi and bacteria. Fill up a bucket of water and add in some splashes of vinegar. Soak the pumpkin for around 30 minutes and allow to dry. This is a better option for those who will be placing their pumpkins outside as it is safer for the surrounding wildlife if they decide to have a quick nibble.
  5. Keep pumpkins as moist as possible. Mist the pumpkin with water on a regular basis. Avoid candles and flames as they only dry the fruit further. Try and keep them in a dry, covered spot – too much sun will have the pumpkins looking mushy in no time.