How To Preserve A Pumpkin
Once again, you celebrated Halloween, dressing up as your favorite movie character and carving a pumpkin just the way you wanted it. Now, you’ve accepted the costume will go ignored for at least another year, but wouldn’t it be nice to know how to preserve your pumpkin and keep it till the end of the cold season or maybe even forever?
Here’s some good news for you: if done right, your jack-o’-lantern can be prepared to last for the rest of the season or even until the end of time! (…or close enough) Just keep reading to find out how.
How to Preserve a Carved Pumpkin
The number one enemy of your pumpkin is mold, so as long as you manage to keep it from covering and ruining your heavy orange head, you will be able to keep it looking bright and scary sitting on your porch.
The solution? Bleach. All you need to do is mix about 3 tablespoons of bleach and 3-4 liters of water, and soak you pumpkin in for 20 minutes.The solution will disinfect all the cut parts that might have already attracted some bacteria and mold, leaving it clean and completely mold-free. Just let it air dry and have your worries about it rotting dissipate in no time.
If you’re not a big fan of bleach and you want to stick to your eco-conscious ways, then you should try tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract. Simply add a few drops of either to a spray bottle with water and spray your fruit all over.
Now that you’ve cleaned your pumpkin, all you need to do it keep it from dehydrating and shrinking down to half its original size, you will need to lubricate it with a water-repellant solution. Spreading vegetable oil, such as coconut or olive oil, or petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, will be enough to keep all the cut areas sealed and prepared to stay intact for months to come.
Alternatively, you can find pumpkin preservation sprays at the store that have lubricants and and anti-fungal substance that will help you preserve them for a while.
How to Preserve a Pumpkin Forever
If you’re not one for carving pumpkins but you’d still like to preserve them for as long as possible, there are a few trips and tricks you should keep in mind.
- To begin with, it’s always best to shop locally, as that always means the product is fresh and accustomed to the climate in your area. Furthermore, one should always check for bruises and soft spots on the pumpkin, as that might already speed up the rotting process;
- Pumpkins should be kept out of direct sunlight, in order to prevent them from discoloring, and protected from frost;
- If you’re thinking of keeping it for the long haul, then keeping it inside the house may be too warm. The front porch is your best option;
- Do not place the pumpkin directly on a wooden or on a hard non-porous surface as the moisture from the pumpkin skin will damage the surface and it will lead to it weeping pumpkin juice. Simply use a fabric placemat with a plastic one right underneath it and let your pumpkin sit comfortably on it for days;
- Check your pumpkins every couple of weeks and watch out for mice, as they love the halloween-y treat and may want to use it as a nest;
- If you want to keep it looking fresh, try shining it with floor wax. It will look as fresh as the day you bought it.
How to Preserve a Pumpkin for Eating
If you’re mostly interested in preserving a pumpkin to later eat it, then fear not: it is possible.
If you’re planning on cooking the pumpkin within a few weeks, it’s okay to display it indoors. Just keep in mind the same storage tips mentioned before, for keeping pumpkins for decorative purposes.
Since most recipes require pumpkin puree, you can simply freeze it. Just cut the pumpkin in chucks, use a food processor to puree it, and then freeze it inside a plastic freezer bag. To make things easier for yourself, freeze it in small portions, that way you won’t have to defrost a giant bag of pumpkin puree every time you need some to cook.
If after a couple of weeks of storing your pumpkin as a whole you find soft spots of flesh without mold, you can save them and eat them, or you can simply bury it in your garden at a shallow depth to get fresh new pumpkins in less than a year’s time. If mold took over the entire fruit, then it’s time to say goodbye to it.
How to Preserve Pumpkin Seeds
The key to preserving pumpkin seeds is to dry them completely. Firstly, remove them from the pumpkin by hand and wash them with warm water to get rid of the orange flesh. Then, grab a cotton towel or newspaper pages, lay a few of them inside a cardboard box and lay your seeds in one layer.
Leave them there to dry, for as long as necessary, which is commonly a week. If your house is generally subject to humidity, it might take a bit longer. Once they’re completely dry, store them inside a jar or a resealable bag in a dark and cool place. They’ll stay fresh and ready to eat for weeks.
Published by Carla Cometto on 12 November 2017