Carving pumpkins is a beloved Halloween tradition. The problem lies in keeping the carved pumpkin looking nice for an extended period of time!
Jack-o-lanterns are meant to be spooky, but not because they're starting to rot. There are ways you can prevent your creation from shriveling away, however. Thomas Andres, a researcher at the New York Botanical Garden, gave Smithsonian some helpful tips to keep your jack-o-lantern looking just as you intended!
1. Pick a hard pumpkin
Also make sure there's no blotches, or other blemishes on the surface. This can lead to quicker rotting.
“You don’t want them to have any frost damage,” says Andres. “You can tell that by looking at the fruit.” Watery dark spots on the top of the pumpkin are an indication of frost damage."
2. Be Patient
“You want to wait until the last moment before carving pumpkins," Andres says. “But once you carve them, there are a few tricks to making them last a little bit longer.”
Pumpkins tend to rot within a week, so make sure you aren't too ahead of yourself!
3. Lemon Juice
Putting lemon juice on the inside of your pumpkin after you've carved it will help slow down the enzymes which make the pumpkin rot. It's the same as adding juice to cut apples to prevent browning. You can also use Vaseline or vegetable oil.