Do you love pumpkins? Me too! Keeping pumpkins looking their best and lasting longer is all about keeping them fresh! Today, I’m sharing 9 tips for keeping pumpkins fresh. And with the right conditions, you can keep uncut pumpkins till Thanksgiving and carved pumpkins till Halloween! These tips work for gourds as well.
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Choose Local Pumpkins If Possible
Lancaster County is pumpkin land in September and October. The fields are full of them, and big container-size boxes line the roads filled with these fall decor veggies to be picked up and shipped out all over the country! If you live in an area that has access to local or regional pumpkins, buy them locally! They are usually fresher!
I get my pumpkins from many local roadside stands and Amish markets. But my favorite place to get pumpkins is right from our neighborhood Amish farm! They are so fresh, and I take them home, dirt and all!
Choose The Healthiest Pumpkins
Pumpkins are susceptible to all kinds of bacteria. Their skin is a protective barrier, so examine a pumpkin for scratches, holes, or gouges that compromise their skin and let in bad germs!
Also, check the stem. Make sure the area around them is firm and not soggy. A soggy stem base spells bad news. Mold will quickly grow around it, and your pumpkin will not last long.
If you see fuzzy strands of blue/green or black spots, leave the pumpkin and choose another!
Keep Pumpkins Out Of Direct Sunlight
Pumpkins, like many picked fruits or veggies, will go bad more quickly in direct sunlight once they are off the vine! This is especially important for carved pumpkins!
Keeping Pumpkins Cool
Fall days can still be quite warm, and heat is the enemy of a pumpkin, especially a carved one! If the temperature soars, put pumpkins in a cool place, even in the refrigerator!
The same goes for below-freezing temps. Bring them in!
Give Pumpkins A Bath
It is a good idea to give your pumpkins a two-step bath.
- Make a sudsy bath with warm water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to wash your pumpkins. Be gentle when you wash them. Use your hands. Rinse them off well.
- Then prepare a bath of 2 Tbs. for every one gallon of water.
- Soak them for 30 minutes, moving them around occasionally.
- Rinse and dry them completely.
Spray Them With Matte Sealer
You can spray your pumpkins with a matte sealer once they have been given a bath and they are totally dry as an added layer of protection. This matte sealer has UV protection.
Dunk A Pumpkin
Carved pumpkins tend to get dehydrated, filled with bacteria or mold, and start rotting! To keep a cared pumpkin looking perky longer, dunk it in a bucket of 1 TBS Clorox for every gallon of water.
Totally submerge it for 1 to 3 hours. Drain all the excess water from the insides, and it will look great! If it starts looking tired again, repeat the process!
Spritz A Pumpkin
This is especially important for outdoor pumpkins!
Spritz your pumpkins every once in a while inside and out with a mixture of 1 TBS Clorox bleach to 1-quart water. It will keep bacteria at bay.
Don’t spray your pumpkins if there is anything around them that the spray will damage!
Paint A Pumpkin
If your white pumpkins start turning yellow and they are still nice looking and feel hard to the touch, give them a quick coat of white chalk or acrylic paint. This will brighten them up, and the coating protects them as well! First, put them in a bath of Cholox bleach like suggested above, totally dry them, and paint!
SAVE THE STEM
Here’s a bonus tip…
Save Pumpkin Stems
Don’t get rid of your pumpkins until you pop their stem off. The pumpkins must be very soft, and then you can apply pressure with your thumb next to where the pumpkin stem and the flesh meet and pop the stem off. If it won’t come off, cut it out. Then, let the stems completely dry out and put them in a paper bag. Next fall, pop the stems of all your faux pumpkins off and glue the real stems in their place.