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A Family Guide to Picking and Preserving your Pumpkin

Is your family picking and carving your own Pumpkin this year? If so here are some Top Tips to keep your pumpkin in good shape this Halloween.

We love October as Pumpkins start popping up everywhere. Whether you plan to pop along to your local supermarket to quickly grab a Pumpkin for ease or are planning an adventure to your local Pumpkin Patch to carefully pick your own and hauling it around with pride, we have some top tips for you and your family on how to keep your Pumpkin healthy and get it ready for Halloween.

 

Why Do People Carve Pumpkins?

We all recognise the orange Pumpkin as a symbol of Halloween. The tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates back to the Celts. It was done as a part of their autumnal celebration, for the reason of lighting the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they would carve faces into vegetables such as turnips and squash and we have simply continued this tradition making a Pumpkin Lantern.

 

How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin

If you are making a Pumpkin jack-o'-lantern, then here are our Top Tips on how to prevent it from rotting before Halloween. It all starts with the selecting the Perfect Pumpkin, so here’s some top tips to pick the best of the bunch.

pumpkin picking in article

Shop Locally

Makes sense that the fresher the pumpkin the more likely it is to last longer than most of the supermarket bought pumpkins, so why not visit your local farmers shop, farms or pumpkin patch near you to pick your own pumpkin. They will have a better selection of good quality, and longer shelf life pumpkins. Click here to find where you can pick your own pumpkin in West Wales, also some autumn or harvest events are likely to be selling some great quality pumpkins

 

Check for Marks

As a rule, the more blemishes you can see on a pumpkin, the quicker it’s going to go off, so try to pick one with an all over solid orange colour, but be realistic and don't waste too much time trying to find one without any blemishes at all though!

 

Feel for Soft Spots or Bruises

Give your Pumpkin a Good Squeeze and press into your pumpkin. You care feeling for any soft parts that push in more that the rest of the pumpkin. Soft spots may appear if the pumpkin has been dropped, or just how it has been stacked. The more soft spots or bruises that your pumpkin has will shorten the life of the pumpkin. It’s very similar to when you pick your fresh apples, you'd avoid the bruised ones.

 

How to Preserve your Pumpkin

Now you have selected the perfect Pumpkin, it’s time to show it some love and help it stay looking Awesome for as long as you can, so here’s five steps to how to preserve your Pumpkin so it can get through Halloween in Style!: -   

  1. Once you have lovingly picked and carved your fab design into your pumpkin, you need to rinse the inside of it out, wash it with just water or wipe the inside well to make sure you get rid of any seeds, strings and gunky bits, because if you leave any of these parts behind it will make the pumpkin rot quicker.
  2. Depending on how big your pumpkin is you need to find something to submerge it in. So maybe a large bucket or the kitchen sink, which every you choose and fill it with water.  Then extremely carefully add common household bleach to the water, measurement wise you need around 1 tsp or 5 ml of household bleach to around 1 gallon or 4 litres of water.  Do Not overfill the bucket or kitchen sink as remember when you put your pumpkin in it will raise the water level and may over flow, be mindful bleach will take the colour out of clothes or carpets, so make sure you do this in a clear area and wear old clothes.
  3. Soak the pumpkin in this water with bleach for around 30 minutes. The purpose of this is so the water will hydrate the pumpkin stopping it from drying out and that the bleach will kill off bacteria, in turn stopping it from building up and rotting your pumpkin. If you wish you can leave your pumpkin in this solution for up to one hour but if you leave it in the water too long it can make it too moist and go all mushy.
  4. After half hour is up, extremely carefully take the pumpkin out of the solution and dry it really good with kitchen roll or an old towel, make sure it is an old towel as the bleach could take the colour out of it!
  5. Once you have completely dried your pumpkin use a thin layer of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to rub a thin layer onto the flesh parts on your carving, so the inside bits and around the eyes and mouth, if you get any on the actual skin (the outside) of the pumpkin be sure to wipe it off straight away. This is another way to stop the pumpkin from drying out and prevent mould or bacteria growing on the flesh parts. It is super important to soak in bleach before this stage cause otherwise all you be doing is locking the bacteria into the pumpkin.

That’s it’s your all done and perfectly preserved your pumpkin and made it ready to put on display inside or outside the home. It goes without saying be mindful of where you position your pumpkin especially if you are going to use real candles as you don’t want to have anything close by that could catch alit. We always fine a bunch of cheap glow sticks or battery lights to make your pumpkin glow well and are way safer around the kids.

Pumpkin carved faces in article

We would love to see all your awesome design so please feel free to send us pictures of your designs on Facebook or email us, so we can share them with everyone.

 

 

 

Check out our Handy Guide of Where you can Take the Kids to Pick Your Own Pumpkin in West Wales this Year 

Looking for Fun Family Events over Halloween and October Half Term, Find out what’s on local to you on our What’s On for Families in West Wales page 

Read how Dyfed Powys Police are looking for Parents to Support their New Operation Bang 

Why not follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for daily inspiration and local family information

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