As soon as the clock strikes 12 and the calendar flips to the first of October, there's only one thing that comes to mind: Halloween!
October is the month of fall colors, fall weather, and fall harvest, ending on the 31st with what is probably the second most awaited day after Christmas.
If you've already started planning yours and your family members' costumes for this year's Halloween, then odds are you just cannot wait to start the annual tradition of carving the glorious orange pumpkins and put them on display for all to see.
But wait! Before you begin hacking away at your awesome design, follow these simple tips that will make your pumpkin last way longer than the 2-week maximum!
But how will I be able to gut and carve the pumpkin if I don't cut the top off, we hear you wonder?
Easy: cut the bottom, instead! Keeping the stem on the vegetable elongates its life significantly, so keeping it intact will prevent your pumpkin from decaying and will keep the moisture from collecting at the bottom, too!
While we all know that cleaning out the pumpkin is essential to keep it from molding straight after the carving process, the regular water and soap just do not do the trick.
Instead, combine a teaspoon of bleach with 16 cups of water and put the mixture into an empty spray bottle. Once you've very thoroughly gutted, deseeded, and completely carved out the veggie's inside, proceed to spray it with the bleach mixture.
This wipes out any mold-breeding bacteria that might be making a home in your pumpkin's belly.
No matter what you do, never, ever use your hairdryer to dry your pumpkin! You may think that this "hack" is quickening the drying process, but what it's really doing is quickening the molding!
Instead, all you need is a roll of paper towels and a lot of patience!
Dab the insides with the paper towels until you can feel most of the moisture gone. After that, all you need to do is keep it in a well-ventilated indoor area. Do not set it outside just yet, as wet or warm climates could make the moisture attract mold.
If you can resist the urge to carve out your design, the best way to prevent mold from growing, and your pumpkin from decaying, is to decorate it externally.
This tip is especially useful if you have little ones wanting to join in on the fun. Instead of using dangerous carving knives, personalize your pumpkin with markers, glitter, stick-on googly eyes, paper hats, and even glow in the dark markers for that lantern effect.
But if missing out on the carving fun does not sound like a good idea to you...
If using markers in place of carving your design out is just not something you see yourself doing, then the most important thing you need to do is to lock in the moisture where the skin was carved.
This can be done with olive oil or vegetable oil, but if you do not want to risk wandering fingers from making every surface in your home oily, then using things like nail polish or Vaseline work just as well!
One of the best ways to keep your pumpkin buddy from dying out on you is through maintenance.
Since peppermint is a great way to keep fungi away, making a pumpkin-saving spray by mixing water, peppermint soap, and a few drops of peppermint oil is a great way to keep mold and other inconveniences away.
Simply spray the mixture in and around the pumpkin every couple of days to keep it fresh.
If you've carved up your pumpkin, any type of warmth can quicken the decay process.
If your pumpkin is not on display 24/7, the best thing to do is to refrigerate it. Especially if the climate where you live is more on the warm side, keeping the pumpkins in the fridge can make a whole lot of difference when it comes to the vegetable's lifespan.
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