First, try not to carve too early. The pumpkin is a fruit, and once it has been carved, it’s exposed to air and will accelerate the decaying process.
So, wait as long as you can, especially if you live in high-humidity regions.
Additionally, be sure that your pumpkin is fully cleaned of the “guts” and seeds. Scrape the interior walls as thoroughly as possible to remove all stringy material. The cleaner the pumpkin, the slower it will decay.
4 Ways to Preserve Your Pumpkin
After you’ve cleaned and carved your pumpkin:
- Fill a spray bottle with a solution of one tablespoon bleach per quart of water. Spray interior and cut surfaces liberally, allowing it to penetrate and dry. This formula is said to kill off surface bacteria and mold that can lead to rot.
- Apply petroleum jelly or olive oil to the cut surfaces to prevent dehydration over time.
- Spraying the cut surfaces with hairspray can also slow down the decaying process. Products designed for anti-humidity work really well.
- Instead of cutting the stem out of the top of the pumpkin to be carved, cut the hole on the bottom of the pumpkin and remove the piece. Then simply place the clean, carved pumpkin on top of a candle. This method not only makes for easier candle lighting but allows moisture to escape rather than pool at the bottom of the pumpkin, which accelerates the rotting process.