Whether you're looking to carve the ultimate Jack-O-Lantern or simply dress up your front steps, you'll want to select the very best. Here are a few tips to help you choose your pumpkin and keep it fresh until Halloween:
- Select pumpkins that are fresh and firm. Avoid choosing a pumpkin that has bruised or soft areas, cuts or other visible blemishes.
- Store both cut or uncut pumpkins in a cool, dry place to keep them fresh longer. A cool basement will work well.
- Remember that warm weather and hot sunlight can speed decay in a pumpkin. Don't leave your pumpkins out on your door step during unseasonably warm weather.
- Once a pumpkin is carved, cover it with plastic for a day or two to help keep moisture in it.
- Smaller cut pumpkins can be wrapped in plastic and stored inside the refrigerator for a few days before Halloween. This is especially helpful if you are having a party and need to carve them ahead of time.
- If your cut pumpkin begins to shrivel, it can sometimes be revived temporarily by soaking it in a bucket of cool water for several hours, and then draining thoroughly.
- Cover all cut edges of a pumpkin, as well as the entire interior, with petroleum jelly. This is the best way to reduce moisture loss and keep a pumpkin looking fresh longer.
- Heat from electric light bulbs and candles can also contribute to the early demise of a pumpkin. Try cutting a hole in the top of the pumpkin to allow heat to escape.