Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets totally giddy the very first time I see that huge display full of voluptuous pumpkins at the grocery store. I want them ALL.
Am I the only one? No, I can’t be the only one.
After our long, hot summers I cheer the change of season and want to fill my house with the queen of autumnal décor – The Pumpkin. But being perpetually on the lookout for opportunities to save money, I’ve found ways to indulge my love of the bulbous orange beauty while getting the biggest bang from the pumpkin buck.
Paint before you Carve
Un-carved pumpkins will last for months so get that pumpkin early and get your money’s worth! Stencil or free-hand designs on them so they’re decorative long before you carve them.
Confession time. Purely out of academic culinary curiosity I kept an un-carved pumpkin to see how long it took before it began to decompose. After Halloween it graced my Thanksgiving table. She wore a Santa hat through the New Year. Yes, it is now a she and her name is Penelope. Penelope Pumpkin.
Penelope spent Valentine’s Day on the hearth with the pine cones and celebrated Easter with scotch taped bunny ears. As Spring turned to Summer I became afraid of Penelope. Afraid that after 10 months she may have given all she had to give to culinary science. Afraid that beneath her smooth orange exterior she might be hiding a darker side so we buried her in the back yard. We will never forget you, Penelope. (Cue “Taps”) Besides, I was sick of dusting a pumpkin.
Postponing Perishable Pumpkins
To make your carved pumpkin last up to a week before becoming the stuff of nightmares, try this handy-dandy technique:
Wipe off dirt with a damp cloth then be sure pumpkin is dry. Carve your masterpiece. Get a spray bottle and make a bleach solution with 1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water. Spray your finished work of art with the bleach solution inside and out. This will kill all the fungus, mold and other nasties just waiting to ruin your creation. Give the bleach solution about 15 minutes to do its Halloween cootie killing magic.
Next rub all the carved surfaces with petroleum jelly. This will act as a blocker for bacteria and an excellent moisturizer. The more moisture you lock in the longer your pumpkin will last.
Keep your masterpiece out of direct sunlight and be certain to keep it from freezing. That’s the fast track to a mound of goo. If you have room, the refrigerator is an excellent place to store your pumpkin.
Diva Tip: If you like to leave your pumpkin on the porch, place a plastic garbage bag, opened but tucked under the pumpkin just in case the unthinkable happens and it goes all mushy. You just have to lift the bag up and close it up. I hope you never have to try to pick up a gooey falling apart pumpkin and put it into a trash bag. That’s just not very Diva. Nope. Not at all.
One last tip;
Sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice inside your jack o lantern so it will smell beautiful like baking a pumpkin pie as the candle warms the spices.
Happy Fall, Y’all!