Welcome to Pumpkin Preservation, Day 2! All this week, we’ll be focusing on how to make your carved pumpkin last as long as possible! (If you missed Rule #1, click to read At the Patch)
Rule #2 It’s All In the Details
If you want a carved pumpkin to last, the pattern you choose can help or hurt the process. The more intricate a carving, the more surfaces are open to the air, releasing moisture which dehydrates the pumpkin. It also provides a greater surface area for mold to grow. In the case of a really detailed carving, let’s say a portrait, those fine little carved lines look fabulous, but will literally start sagging in an Hour! So, if you want a carving to last several days, choose a simple Jack o’Lantern smile or a more simple design. Carving a portrait of great Aunt Ida? Save it for Halloween day, or carve it just a few hours before your party to awe your visitors! If you’re going to spend a lot of time carving a design, you may even want to consider carving an artificial pumpkin instead, so your carved pumpkin will last indefinitely!
Here’s one more way you can “adjust” any pattern you choose to make the finished carving last longer. Instead of carving all the way through the pumpkin shell, use a wood gouge to shave the design into the pumpkin instead. When you expose the inside of a pumpkin to air, the rotting process begins immediately. However, when you only remove the surface of the shell, there is enough of the shell left to prevent the inside of the pumpkin from exposure. When I use this technique, I’ve had my shaved pumpkins last two weeks or longer! The down side is that you won’t be able to light the pumpkin. The upside is that your design will look great all day long and will still look fabulous under bright lights, when a lit pumpkin can’t show off at its best. If you’d like to try this technique, watch The Pumpkin Lady’s free demo video on Shading to get you started!
Be sure to read tomorrow’s blog: Rule #3 If You Can’t Stand the Heat…(or, Keeping Your Pumpkin Calm, Cool, and Collected!).