For many, one of the greatest excitements of fall is the decor! From plaids to the rich orange and deep red colors to the changing leaves and of course, the pumpkins! Once the calendar rolled to September many people were ready to set up their fall decorations around the house. But unless you want to donate your fresh pumpkins to your child’s “Life Cycle of a Pumpkin” lesson, it is important you take care of them. Here are some simple tricks to keep your pumpkins looking fresh throughout the fall season!
To maximize the life of your pumpkins, try your best to keep your hands off them. The oils from your fingers can speed up the rotting process, so only touch your pumpkins when you absolutely need to. Also be careful not to carry it by the stem as a broken stem can mean a shorter pumpkin life.
If you plan on keeping your pumpkins outside, be sure to place them in a dry, shaded spot—like a covered porch—for the entire season. Too much hot sun will speed up a pumpkin’s decaying process and the moisture from rain will lead to an early onset of mold. If you live in a warm area you can also try putting the pumpkins in a cool location at night such as a refrigerator, wine cellar or basement. The opposite is true if you live in a location that may freeze over night, bring your pumpkins inside each night. Ideally, the pumpkins would be happiest in temperatures in 50 and 60 degree temperatures.
Apply a tablespoon of acrylic liquid floor wax to a water-dampened rag, then wipe down the entire surface of your uncarved pumpkin, leaving behind a thin film of wax. When the wax cures on the pumpkin, it will act as a barrier to moisture that prevents the growth of mold, keeps your pumpkin hydrated and leave an attractive sheen that lasts four weeks or longer.
Give your pumpkin a bath after you have carved it as well as every now and then to keep its rind fresh. Mix one part bleach to ten parts water in a large container and let your pumpkin bathe in the solution for two minutes. Remember to rotate your pumpkin as it will float in the solution and to let your pumpkin dry completely before setting it back in its designated home. The bleach-water solution you use in your pumpkin bath can also be used as a daily spray to keep your pumpkins healthy. This will sterilize the pumpkin and kill any existing bacteria.
If you see your pumpkin starting to wilt, give it an ice bath overnight for some serious rehydration. Once you take it out, dry it thoroughly to prevent mold growth.
Before carving your pumpkin, make sure that the inside is completely free of guts. Let the cavity dry out, sterilize it with the bleach and then moisture the inside of the pumpkin to help minimize the oxidation process. You can rub petroleum jelly, olive oil, coconut oil or WD-40 around the carved areas to help extend their life. Another option is to make a peppermint spray from soap and essential oils as peppermint naturally has an anti-fungal element to it. Your pumpkins will be left feeling smooth, hydrated and a pleasant smell! Remember that these oils can be flammable so we recommend using a battery operated light inside the pumpkin.
Unfortunately, because pumpkins are vegetables, pests want to snack on them as they would any other produce and carved pumpkins are even more prone to pests! If you have already taken the recommended measures listed above to limit mold but are noticing lingering pests, it is time for a distraction! You can place an open dish of wine next to your pumpkins as many pests are attracted to fermented fruit, the wine will serve as a distraction. If you have small children or pets around your home, a fly trap will also work in place of old wine.
The flame from a real candle inside a pumpkin will heat or essentially cook the pumpkin causing the interior to dry out and lead to faster rotting. Instead use a battery operated light or candle to give you the nighttime effect.
Carving pumpkins is a longstanding tradition in many homes but an untouched pumpkin will stay fresher for a longer period of time compared to a carved one. We recommending waiting as long as possible to carve your pumpkin or use an alternative to carving such as painting, fancy tape, jewels or dress them up, the possibilities are endless!
Fall decorations can add great curb appeal to your home this time of year. Are you curious to what your home may be worth? Contact us for a free comparative property analysis! Remember that Arrive Real Estate Group is always here to help with all of your real estate needs in the fall and all year round.
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