How to Preserve Pumpkins the Right Way

Keep the spooky spirit going all October long by learning how to preserve pumpkins.

With October comes all kinds of beloved fall traditions: spooky movies, Halloween candy, pumpkin spice lattes and hearty casseroles. But there’s one October hallmark we get excited about long before the leaves start to change colors — pumpkin carving.

Whether you go for the traditional triangle eyes and a toothy grin or mix it up with some truly artsy designs, there’s no denying the fun of turning that orange orb into a Halloween icon. Of course, you want to keep that delightful creation fresh throughout the month. But if you look up how long pumpkins last, you’ll find the answer is … not long.

So how do you keep pumpkins from rotting? You’ll be happy to know there are some easy ways!

How to Preserve a Carved Pumpkin

First, start with a healthy pumpkin. Make sure there are no soft spots or discolored areas and avoid any gourd that’s too bruised. Once you’ve figured out how to carve your pumpkin, it’s time to make sure it lasts.

Fill a large tub with 10 parts water and one part vinegar. Let the pumpkin soak for 20 to 30 minutes, then pull it out and air-dry. Voilà! You’ve got a pretty pumpkin that definitely won’t show its age.

Why does this work? The vinegar kills fungus, making it hard for the pumpkin to rot. That’s why vinegar-soaked pumpkins look so new; they’re unblemished by the grossness that inevitably befalls their untreated peers.

And best of all, this method is safe for wildlife, too. So if a squirrel or bird thinks your pumpkin is a tasty snack, they can chow down safely. (Hopefully, this doesn’t happen until after Halloween.)

You can also follow these steps to keep your carved pumpkin looking as fresh as the day it was cut:

  • Put the pumpkin in the refrigerator when it’s not on display.
  • Coat it in clear acrylic spray to protect it from bugs and bacteria.
  • Use battery-operated lights rather than candles so it’s exposed to less heat.

How to Preserve an Uncarved Pumpkin

There’s another way to keep pumpkins from rotting, and you’ve probably got what you need in your medicine cabinet. Yep, you can use petroleum jelly to keep pumpkins fresh!

For whole pumpkins, rub petroleum jelly all over to keep ’em from going bad and keep pests away. For carved pumpkins, spread the jelly into every nook and cranny, too!

@athomewithshannonLet us know your best Pumpkin Hack idea and we will try it too!! #FallDIY #momhack #lifehacks #parentinghacks #fyp #mom #hack♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Emily Hannemann
Emily adores both food and writing, so combining those passions as a writer for Taste of Home makes perfect sense. Her work has also appeared in Birds & Blooms and on TV Insider. When she’s not eating peanut butter straight from the jar, you'll find her running or birdwatching. Emily is currently a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri.