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Lawn & Garden

Jack-O-Lantern Preservation Techniques

With the fall season approaching, I noticed my local THD putting pumpkins out at the front of the store. My daughter is old enough now to get into carving a pumpkin, so we'll actually deal with the smell and goo of cleaning out a pumpkin, saving the seeds to roast and carving some kind of silly face. But it all seems like a waste when you consider the mold and rot that you know will be forthcoming...


I did some research and found a site that went through a 2 week experiment with how to preserve a jack-o-lantern. They used stuff commonly thought to make pumpkins last longer: white glue, bleach, acrylic spray, petroleum jelly and a commercial product called Pumpkin Fresh. For the experiment, they carved six pumpkins of roughly the same size and shape with the same design. First pumpkin was their control, they did nothing to it. The next pumpkin, they smeared white glue all over the inside and cut surfaces of the pumpkin and let it dry. Pumpkin 3 got the petroleum jelly treatment, similar to the white glue.  Acrylic craft spray was used to coat the inside and cut surface of Pumpkin 4. Pumpkin 5 was soaked in a bleach solution (1tsp bleach:1gal of water) for eight hours and misted daily with a mild bleach solution. The sixth and final pumpkin was sprayed with a commercial product called Pumpkin Fresh.


All told, all pumpkins had mold growth and started to rot, it was just a matter of how long it took. Pumpkin #2, white glue, was the first to go (7-8 days), followed by petroleum jelly and acrylic spray pumpkins (9-10 days). That left the final three. Mr Bleach pumpkin made it another day or two (11-12 days). Leaving the control pumpkin, with nothing done to it, and the Pumpkin Fresh contender the final two standing. Both lasting about the same amount of time.


So doing nothing to the pumpkin worked. Seemed as the pumpkin took care of itself by drying out, not giving the mold its necessary moisture to keep happy. While it did rot, so did the rest of the field. The Pumpkin Fresh product kept its pumpkin going, but was expensive at around $5 a bottle and taking two bottles over the two week experiment. The tester did mention that they would probably use the bleach method, but modify how they processed it. Instead of just misting the interior of the pumpkin and leaving it sit there, they decided that the pooling liquid in the bottom of the pumpkin led to the rot, which did it in prematurely. So, to combat that, they would mist and then turn the pumpkin over to dry a bit. The bleach pumpkin had the least amount of mold and looked best, just that the rot had done it in.


They also mentioned using hair spray, but this wasn't tested.


Hope this helps.

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Posted 2011-09-25T17:49:50+0000  by Paul Paul

Nice Technique Paul!

Posted 2011-10-12T04:50:31+0000  by maryan1313

Hello maryan1313, and welcome to the community!  We are glad to have you join the forum.


Thank you for your supportive comments on several threads.  Please keep us updated on your projects, any questions you may have and feel free to join in helping others.


Again, thanks for joining the community,


Posted 2011-10-14T20:17:04+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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