Help your Halloween pumpkin last longer with these tips to keep it from wilting prematurely.
- Select pumpkins that are very fresh and firm. Avoid choosing a pumpkin that has bruised or soft areas or cuts or other visible blemishes.
- Store cut or uncut pumpkins in a cool dry place to keep them fresh longer. You may have a cool basement or room in the refrigerator.
- Remember that warm weather and hot sunlight can speed decay in a pumpkin. If you live in a hot climate be sure to store your uncut pumpkins in a cool spot and wait to carve them until a day or two before Halloween.
- Once a pumpkin is carved, cover it with plastic for a day or two to help keep moisture in the pumpkin.
- Smaller cut pumpkins can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for a few days before Halloween -- helpful if you are having a party and need to carve them ahead of time.
- 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 lightbulbs and candles can also contribute to the early demise of a pumpkin. Try cutting a hole in the top of the pumpkin, allowing heat to escape.
Is your pumpkin shriveling up before Halloween? The Pumpkin Masters Web site advises that a shriveled cut pumpkin can sometimes be revived temporarily by soaking it in a bucket of cool water for several hours, then draining thoroughly.