To have your pumpkin last longer, here are some simple pumpkin carving tips and tricks. If you’re like me, then you might want to have your pumpkin last long after it becomes a Jack-o-Lantern.
It’s fun to have your beautiful work of art be on display for more than just a few days – and I also like to retrieve any of the pumpkin flesh for cooking or dehydrating afterwards. All too often though you find your prize pumpkin has gone moldy or is singed by the candles you put in it to light up that Halloween face.
Here’s what you do to have your pumpkin last as long as possible and still look good – or remain edible so you can use it for cooking or baking.
1. Start with the freshest, firmest pumpkin you can find. Give a miss
to any that are nicked or have the skin broken in any way. That
includes where the stem is – or was.
2. Pick a pumpkin that still has its stem firmly attached.
3. Don’t be tempted to carry the pumpkin by its stem. That can cause small tears in the flesh. Little breaks can let in mold, general decay and rot, especially if the stem breaks off.
4. Once you have carved your Jack-o-Lantern, lightly spray or mist the cut edges with water on a regular basis (depending on your climate and air temperature). Sometimes even the wind can dry the pumpkin’s cut surfaces.
5. Spray with oil. Use Pam or another similar product to lightly spray all the cut surfaces. Don’t have or don’t use cooking oil sprays? Here’s what I’ve tried: spray or wipe the cut surfaces with white vinegar and then use regular cooking oil to ‘finger paint’ the pumpkin. Don’t know if the vinegar makes any difference, but it made me feel good to use it!
6. Bring it inside. In hot, dry climates, or if it’s exceptionally cold where you live, bring the Jack-o-Lantern inside during the day. If you live in a neighbourhood that might get raided by pumpkin-smashing-ghouls, bring your prize pumpkin inside at night, too.
7. Don’t carve it! You don’t have to carve your pumpkin at all. This
is the best way to make your pumpkin last until you’re ready to use it.
If they aren’t carved or have their skin broken, whole pumpkins will
last for quite a while, maybe right up till Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Ban the candles! Candles aren’t that safe and they usually leave the
pumpkin black and scorched inside. On howling windy Halloween nights,
they might even blow out. Use glow sticks or the mini battery tea lights
you can find at the dollar store.
I’d even try (but haven’t yet) putting a glow stick or flashlight (rechargeable batteries, of course) inside a milk jug and putting that into the pumpkin. The milk jug helps to diffuse the light but, of course, you could just use a clear glass dish.
So there you go, some very simple pumpkin carving tips to make you Jack-o-lantern last longer.
What to do with all that pumpkin you saved? Try some pumpkin recipes with the pumpkin you saved. You might like these: Sweet Spicy Pumpkin Seeds or Pumpkin Pot Mushroom Stew or even these 3 (count 'em) recipes for Pumpkin Bread.
Check out these really awesome/gruesome Jack-o-Lantern ideas here.
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