AUBURN, Ala. – Many would say that it just wouldn’t be Halloween without the main symbol of the holiday; the jack-o-lantern. With Halloween just around the corner, people are heading to pick the perfect pumpkin for carving the family jack-o-lantern. Jack-o-lanterns have a seemingly short life span. However, there are a few things that people can do to preserve the jack-o-lantern for a longer period of time?
Starts With Picking the Pumpkin
“Pick a pumpkin without any bacteria or mold that may be growing around the handle and has no soft spots,” Carroll said. “A pumpkin with a nice sized handle is often a better pick than one without.”
Carroll went on to say that direct sunlight may help break the pumpkin down faster so be aware of where the pumpkin is placed during the day.
“I have heard of keeping the jack-o-lantern in a refrigerator during the day and putting back out at night to light up,” Carroll said.
There are some home remedies that may help keep the scare in your jack-o-lantern.
Bleach and Water Solution: One remedy to try requires some planning ahead but could solve the problem. Soak the carved pumpkin in a solution of one teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of water for eight hours. Each day after the initial soak, spray it daily with a mild bleach solution. The soaking and spraying is intended to hydrate the pumpkin flesh, while the bleach is acting as an antimicrobial to reduce mold growth. With this remedy, the jack-o-lantern has been known to last up to 10 days with minimal mold growth and decay.
Use A Commercial Product: Another remedy to try is buying a commercial product for preserving pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. While this is not technically a home remedy, it could still be beneficial to preserving the pumpkin. The main components of a commercial preserving solution are water, sodium, borax and a perseverate fungicide. Spray the jack-o-lantern daily while following the directions on the bottle. Pumpkins sprayed with this product have been known to last up to 14 days with minimal mold growth and some decay.
Using these suggestions and remedies may help you preserve your family’s jack-o-lanterns this year. For more information visit the Alabama Extension website or contact your county’s Extension office.
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