The begging starts around mid-September. I’ve been avoiding it for as long as possible, but I’m officially smack dab in the middle of Mom-can-we-carve-the-pumpkins-yet? season. I’ve been practicing my avoid, distract, and ignore techniques, but they’re not working any longer. It’s time to carve.
It’s not the mess that I hate, rather it’s the sad, rotting pumpkins that we can, under no conditions, throw away that sit on my front porch until Thanksgiving. They’re just nasty. And then the clean up.
But, you guys: There’s a solution. (Thanks, Internet!) So, if like me, you have soggy-Jack-o-Lantern-phobia, here’s how to keep your pumpkins from rotting away miserably on your front stoop.
Step 1: Dry your pumpkin completely
After you’ve cut open the top of the pumpkin, scooped out all of the seeds (to a chorus of ewwww from your kids), and carved the front, you should thoroughly rinse out the inside of the pumpkin. Then, arm your kids with paper towels and let them reach inside to completely pat it dry. All of the goo needs to be gone. (But don’t forget to set aside the seeds for some amazing toasted pumpkin seeds.)
Step 2: Dunk it in bleach water
Fill a large bucket with water (about 3 gallons) and add 1/8 cup of bleach, then dunk the pumpkin in the solution. Be smart: wear gloves and tie a scarf around your nose and mouth before you open the bleach so that you don’t breathe it in. And obviously, supervise your kids. After the pumpkin has soaked for about two minutes, take it out.
If you haven an unopened packet of silica gel lying around, toss it into the pumpkin too. It will continue to absorb any moisture that collects. This is especially good if you live in a high-humidity area.
Step 3: Air dry
Go ahead and set your pumpkin on display, and let it absorb that bleach as it air drys. This should give you a few extra weeks of fresh pumpkin to admire. Because nothing is more sad that when your Jack-o-Lantern masterpiece has rotted overnight.