Pumpkin Preservation - Matt Whipple

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While pumpkin preservation sounds as though it may be some kind of ecological or social mission, I'm using it to describe my efforts to stop Halloween pumpkins from rotting. For the past couple years my family has bought pumpkins in early October but by the time Halloween nears and we look to carve jack-o'-lanterns the pumpkins have turned to mush. The first year was written off as a fluke of bad pumpkins, but when it happened again with prominent decay it became clear that something was going wrong.

We had bought pumpkins for years without noticing this issue, though we'd also only started carving pumpkins when my son was old enough to take part which only left one jack-o'-lantern year that was known to be trouble free and it's fuzzy as to how soon prior to carving we actually purchased the pumpkins that year. The other years the pumpkins may have been covertly mushifying until disposal.

While all of the data for past years isn't captured in any trustworthy source a definite variable that changed prior to noticing this issue was that we moved into our house. The pumpkins are therefore being placed in a different location which may be introducing some environmal factors which accelerate their decay. My current working theory is that this is due to the pumpkins being placed on steps which are made from old stones. The stones themselves are fairly uneven and provide a rustic look to match the fairly old house, and they're also solid as the rock that they are. This means that the steps have depressions in which water will collect after a rain and the pumpkins may therefore end up sitting for a prolonged period in a pool of water.

In 2020 we picked up our pumpkins on October 11th. This year we're going to attempt to just bring our pumpkins inside when it rains. Some other ideas we have is to raise the pumpkins such that they have better drainage (such as on a hay bale) and cover them with petroleum jelly (which we tried last year but we weren't reliably tracking any impact).

Author: mwhipple

Created: 2020-10-27 Tue 19:36

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