Pumpkin carving has become an integral part of the Halloween celebration. Evolving from the classic triangle shaped eyes and toothy grins, to elaborate realism portraits; pumpkin carving has come a long way. Spawning Jack-o-Lantern carve-offs and TV specials, carving the best pumpkin has become somewhat of a sport. The design ideas for a pumpkin are limitless. From scary faces, to creepy night scenes, to 3D pop art whatever the design, these tips on preparation and storage will help to keep that pumpkin looking “spook”-tacular.
Instead of cutting a lid around the top stem of the pumpkin, cut out the bottom. Not only does this help the pumpkin retain moisture and stay fresher, but also provides the ability to place the pumpkin over top of the lit candle, as opposed to dropping it in. This is a much easier and safer method when using lit candles inside of a pumpkin.
To keep a pumpkin at its freshest, the inside must be thoroughly cleaned. In preparation for carving, remove all seeds and stringy flesh. Use a spoon to scrape the interior walls of any debris. The inside of the pumpkin should now be clean and white.
A good tip would be to bring pumpkins indoors for a few hours before carving, so they can warm up. Cleaning out a freezing cold pumpkin is not very fun!
Timing is key
The best time to carve a pumpkin is the night before it’s to be displayed. Generally, a pumpkin will look its best within the first 3 days of carving, provided it’s kept cool and dry. A front porch, backyard, or garage (not heated), will work just fine for storage of your pumpkin. If the pumpkin is to be kept in storage for more than 3 days after carving, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in a refrigerator. This works best for storage up to 7 days.
Got it covered
To help preserve a pumpkin for a longer period of time, after carving, try applying a protectant. Lemon juice or vinegar can be rubbed generously over the interior of the pumpkin and any exposed areas of flesh, to retain freshness and prevent shriveling. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly in the same manner as the lemon juice, will produce similar protection.
Spraying a pumpkin with a varnish, hairspray or other sealant is not recommended if pumpkin will be displayed with lit candles. These products are flammable and could cause harm.