Have you ever wondered how to prevent an uncarved pumpkin from rotting?
I love decorating my front porch for Halloween and fall! It’s so beautiful to see pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, hay bales and all the rest on porches. But those pumpkins….
How to Prevent an Uncarved Pumpkin from Rotting
You can prevent an uncarved pumpkin from rotting with a simple product, but be sure you don’t intend to eat the pumpkin. You can’t apply this coating to any pumpkin you plan to eat. It’s also important to keep such treated pumpkins away from family pets like dogs or cats who may get into trouble licking or biting treated pumpkins.
Floor Wax to the Rescue
Floor wax can be used to keep uncarved pumpkins from rotting. Liquid floor wax can be applied with a soft cloth to the exterior of the pumpkin.
To apply the wax, place newspaper or a drop cloth on the ground outside where this is good air circulation. Pour a little liquid wax onto a soft cloth. Rub the outside of the pumpkin. Let dry, then place it where you want it to go.
Saving Carved Pumpkins
Carved pumpkins can also rot. My parents only let us carve our pumpkins a day before Halloween because they would rot so quickly.
To prevent carved pumpkins from rotting:
- Carve your pumpkin as you like.
- Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands.
- Rinse the inside out to make sure you’ve removed all the seeds and string.
- Place 1 teaspoon of bleach to each 1 gallon of cold water into a bucket (if the pumpkin is large and you need a 3 gallon bucket, use 3 teaspoons of bleach and so on).
- Dunk the pumpkin in the bleach solution and hold it there for two minutes.
- When the pumpkin is dry, coat the outside with petroleum jelly (Vaseline). This is a messy process, so do it outside and be sure to wear gloves again. The Vaseline keeps moisture inside the pumpkin so it won’t dry out, rot or sag.
Wait until as close to Halloween as possible before carving your pumpkin. Or, just keep it without carving it. Happy Harvest!
And remember, don’t eat pumpkins that have been treated this way. Instead, purchase a pumpkin especially for cutting up to make my pumpkin biscuits.
This post was created in September 2018 and updated October 5, 2021 with new images, improved formatting, and new links.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.