The Blog by Ellen Wags

a lifestyle blog for real mamas. featuring family-friendly home decor, casual mama style, and stuff to keep your kids entertained. 

How to Keep Your Pumpkins Fresh All Fall

It is officially *mid* September, and you’ve got the urge.

The pumpkin gettin’ urge.

Same, girl. Let me give you some tips to keep your pumpkins looking fresh all fall long…or at least until it is time for the Christmas decorations to come out (NOVEMBER 1 WHERE YA AT?!)

I’ve got four tips coming at ya for how to keep your pumpkins fresh all fall long! This post contains affiliate links.

It Starts at the Store

Do you know the saying about lipstick on a pig? If you buy crappy pumpkins, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. Inspect the pumpkins before putting them in your cart.

Mushy stem? PASS.

Bumps and bruises? NEXT.

Feels spongy when you run your heads over the glossy skin? MOVE ALONG.

The prettiest, curviest, neutral-ist pumpkin you’ve ever seen, but it smells funky? GIRL, BYE.

All those bumps, nicks, and mush spots are prime areas for mold and rapid decay of your pumpkins. Take your time to look all over the pumpkins that catch your eye and try to pick the ones that have little to no signs of going bad.

Give Those Pumpkins a Bath

Once your perfect pumpkins are home, toss them in the sink or shower for a quick cleaning session. *okay don’t really toss them…we took our time picking out pristine, healthy pumpkins…lets not kill them before we even get them outside*

You know how your face breaks out when you decide to go to bed just this one time without washing your face?

Same for our little pumpkin friends. Breakouts equal blemishes, and blemishes equal rotten pumpkins. Cleaning the surface of your pumpkins removes all the muck and gunk that has built up so they are all prepped for your selected preservation method.

Be sure to pat dry your pumpkins, paying close attention to where the stem meets the body of the gourd and any crevices. Moisture equals mold, our long-living pumpkin’s arch nemesis.

Use a Preservation Method to Keep Your Pumpkins Fresh

Although these first two steps will get you pretty far, if you’ve bought your pumpkins super early in the fall, and it is miserably hot where you live, it might be a good idea to use a preservation method to keep your pumpkins fresh all fall.

There are a few ways to preserve uncarved pumpkins floating around the internet. Because I lean a bit on the crunchy side, I’m going to skip the chemical recommendations and share a few lo-tox alternatives.

Castille Soap Spray

Castille soap spray is a non-toxic, animal friendly option (and what we went with!) I used Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Castille Soap, which contains peppermint essential oil. Peppermint essential oil acts as is an amazing natural pest repellant, and smells delightful!

Mix a teaspoon of peppermint castille soap with a quart of water, the pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Pat dry any condensation/moisture on the outside of your pumpkin, then spray all over with the mixture.

Vinegar Bath

Vinegar is a safe food preservative and has antifungal properties – just what we need for maximizing our pumpkin’s life! Mix ten parts water to one part white vinegar in a large sink or tub, and soak your pumpkins for 15-20 minutes, then allow to air dry.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil helps moisturize the pumpkin skin and acts as a natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Use a soft cloth to gently rub a thin layer of coconut oil all over your pumpkins. You can repeat this a few times a week.

Minimize Handling

Arrange your pumpkins, ideally in a shady spot, then LEAVE THEM ALONE. Last year, my girls could not stop moving the pumpkins around, rolling them up and down the entry steps, and carrying them all around the yard.

The poor pumpkins got so beat up, then quickly decomposed right in front of my eyes. Try not to move the pumpkins around a lot and avoid dropping or stepping on them. It is a good idea to gently rotate them to avoid mushy pressure spots and remove any collecting dust, dirt, or debris underneath that might encourage mold growth.

I’m all about kids being kids and having fun, so I picked up several bags of petite pumpkins and those are the play pumpkins. My girls play ‘grocery store’ and ‘pumpkin patch’ with these tiny gourds, and my big beauties get to live on the front steps out of harms way for the next six weeks. Make it fun for the kids by having some little baskets that they can carry the designated ‘play’ pumpkins in!

Basket Sold Out – Similar here and here and here

Where To Buy

I got my autumn-colored pumpkins from Walmart! At only $7 each, they were definitely the most cost-effective option.

Other places to check are your local grocery store, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and a local pumpkin patch!

When do you start decorating for fall? Have cool temperatures rolled into your area yet? Tell me in the comments!

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