Thanks to Susan at Karisma Salon for passing along this great info about how to keep ol’ Jack free of mildew and those annoying little fruit flies a little longer!
“After you scoop out and carve your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water (use a 1 tsp:1 gal mix). The bleach will kill bacteria and help your pumpkin stay fresh longer. Once completely dry, (drain upside down), add 2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush this solution onto your pumpkin to keep it looking fresh for weeks.”
I have actually heard of several ways to keep your Jack o’Lantern fresher longer over the years. So I did a little research and found that the smarties over at My Science Project did a great job of finding out with method actually works.
They did a 14 day project documenting the rate of rot and mold growth using the following popular recommended treatments: bleach, white glue, vaseline, Pumpkin Fresh (a commercial preservative), acrylic spray and nothing at all (control group). The verdict was that the commercial preservative worked the best, although the bleach application and just doing nothing at all were a close second in terms of longevity. Regardless, all the pumpkins had passed their prime by 14 days.
So, keep your pumpkins whole and uncarved until a week before Halloween and then either wash it out with bleach water or a commercial product like Pumpkin Fresh for the best Jack O’Lantern results!