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Tips On Keeping Your Carved Pumpkins Fresher, Longer

Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto

Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns is an art form that comes in all shapes, sizes and levels of difficulty. The final product usually makes a pumpkin carver proud and anxious to display his or her work. However, just a few days later the artistic creation may start to wither and rot and eventually mold will take over.

Why does this happen? When you carve a pumpkin it exposes the insides making it more susceptible to infection through air flow. The environment such as temperature and sunlight can also be a factor in the pumpkin’s quality. Multi-fungal micro-organisms have the potential to live everywhere. These fungi release tiny lightweight spores that allow them to travel through the air. They can then infect and cause carved pumpkins to shrivel, soften and start to grow fuzzy grey mold. Some common interior molds include cladosporium, penicillium, aspergillus and alternaria.

Consider these methods that help preserve your carved pumpkin. Thoroughly wash your pumpkin before cutting into it. Sterilize spoons, knives or other carving tools before use. Especially between pumpkin carvings. Remove all of the pumpkins insides and reduce the surface area where potential fungi can grow. Dip, wash or spray your finished carving with a ten percent bleach solution. This will kill any micro-organisms on your pumpkin. Rub the cut areas with petroleum jelly which helps lock in the moisture and slow the drying process. Consider using an electric light or glow stick instead of a candle. This will prevent the gourd from cooking and spoiling faster.

So enjoy carving your pumpkins and have a fun Halloween.