There are few things more quintessential when you think of fall than the pumpkin, and its versatility has made it into our lattes, pancakes, and decor.
If you’re planning on using your pumpkins as decor this fall, here are some tips on preserving them (before you carve them) for the perfect porch display or for storing them for cooking throughout the winter.
How to Preserve Uncarved Pumpkins and Prevent Rotting
Wash & Cure Your Pumpkins
Your first step is to wash the dirt and microbiomes off the outside of the pumpkin. This can be done with either a diluted bleach or vinegar solution – depending on whether you’re planning on eating the pumpkins at a later date. If you’re planning on eating the pumpkin – stick with a vinegar wash.
You can either use a dunk method (in a tub) or wash with a cloth, but whatever method you use, make sure that the pumpkins are nice and clean.
Once they’re nice and clean it’s time to harden the skin to protect the set the pumpkins outside in the sunshine to dry off and keep them outside for 2 weeks. Finding warm days and nights in the fall can sometimes be hard depending on the year, but setting them outside for 2-3 weeks in warm weather will ensure that your pumpkins will last for up to 6 months. Curing a pumpkin means that you are hardening the skin and protecting the flesh from deterioration
Pumpkins do not do well in the cold weather. Whether you’re waiting for them to cure or keeping them outside for decor, always bring them inside when there’s a frost or freezing temperatures or anytime the weather dips.
When is it cured
A pumpkin is cured when the stem is dried up
Keep your pumpkin off cold surfaces like concrete (steps or basement floors) for long periods of time. It’s fine for a night like Halloween, but if you’re displaying them on your front porch (for example) for a longer period of time, try placing them on something other than the concrete steps, like a stool, or a box.
If you’re planning on eating your pumpkins after displaying them, keep them in a cool place like your basement until you’re ready to cook them. Again, keep them on a shelf rather than a cold basement floor.
Pumpkins that have not been cured can last 2-3 weeks. Cured pumpkins can last up to 6 months