How to Keep Your Pumpkins from Rotting this Halloween – Expert Advice

How to Keep Your Pumpkins from Rotting this Halloween – Expert Advice

With the spooky season nearing, the Ger Crowley and the Gardening Experts at Atkins Garden Shop have provided their top tips on how to keep your pumpkins fresh all the way up to October 31st.

1 – Know the Right time to Pick & Carve

Once you cut into a pumpkin the lifespan of the fruit significantly decreases. 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 3-7 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 the 31st.

– Ger Crowley, Atkins Garden Shop Manager

2 – WD-40 Can save your Pumpkin

This one always raises a few eyebrows but it really works, we’ve been using this method for a number of years without fail. Pumpkins generally tend to rot so quickly after carving because they lose nearly 90% of their moisture content, the remaining moisture needs to be protected and retained. Mineral oil is one of the main ingredients in WD-40 and that’s key here. Coat the outside and inside of the pumpkin with the spray after carving ensuring a good covering all over the fruit. This will keep your pumpkin looking fresh for far longer. Be careful however, WD-40 is flammable so if you plan on lighting up your Jack-O-Lantern use an LED light as opposed to an actual candle.

3 – Benefits of Bleach

Soaking a pumpkin in bleach has long been a suggested tactic, but does it make a difference?

The bleach trick is quite clever and can add around a week extra onto the lifespan of the pumpkin. When you dip the pumpkin in bleach you’re effectivelykilling off any bacteria and organisms that exist on the skin of the fruit, without these present the rotting process is staved off for a little while longer.

What does the process look like?

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!

4 – Does Vinegar Work?

If you don’t feel comfortable using bleach, vinegar works just as well. Similarly to the bleach, vinegar rids the pumpkin of any fungi and bacteria which slows the rotting process. 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 – Final Tips

Keep your pumpkin as moist as you possibly can. 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 pumpkins 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!

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