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Caring for and Making Your Decorative Pumpkins Last Longer

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

'Tis the season, my friends.  The pumpkins, they are a poppin' up all over around these parts.  Every day, I see more fall displays going up, and they are all just gorgeous.  I do so love this time of year.  

Upon a recent trip to the pumpkin patch, we were fortunate enough to talk to the pumpkin farmer himself about how to best care for your pumpkins and make them last longer.  Let me tell you, I put on my listening ears quickly, and here are the tips we learned. 

Now this is what my pumpkins looked like when we brought them home...

And here they are now.  Not bad, huh?

1.  Clean your pumpkins!  That's an easy one, but one that most of us probably forget to do.  Our pumpkins were "farm fresh".  We brought them home directly from the fields, dirt and all.  So the first step is to rid yourself of all that mud and muck.  If they aren't too bad, you can just wipe them down with a wet cloth.  Most of ours required a little more attention, so I used a kitchen cleaner and some good old fashioned elbow grease.  

2.  Spray them down with Pam cooking spray.  Not only does it bring out a brilliant shine, but it also helps to seal and protect your pumpkins so they will last much longer for you. Take a look at our before and after pictures above.  I promise these photos haven't been edited in any way, and yet these hardly even look like the same pumpkins!  Awesome!!

3.  Be careful of those stems.  Short, damaged, or missing stems can cause a pumpkin to decay faster.  Choosing a pumpkin with a longer stem will help to ensure a longer life for your gourd.  In the same vein, even though those wonderful pumpkin topiaries are just beautiful, you often have to chop the stems to accomplish the look, so beware and know that your pumpkins may not last quite as long. 

4.  Don't sit your pumpkins on concrete surfaces.  It can cause your pumpkin to decay quickly.  We have learned that the hard way over the years.  Instead, pop a piece of wood, cardboard, paperboard, etc, under them and then place them wherever you like.  It will make them last a lot longer for you. 

5.  If you carve your pumpkins, rub Vasoline along the exposed edges.  Carved pumpkins tend to shrivel up along those carved edges.  The Vasoline helps to lubricate the edges and will give you a little more life once your jack-o-lantern is ready. 

So that's it.  Not too hard really, but certainly worth a few extra steps to make those pumpkins last through the fall.  And to leave you with my favorite pumpkin, here she is- sweet, sweet Babydoll, getting ready for her first Halloween.  

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