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Jack-o-lantern, Flickr

Photo: jeffk, Flickr

Planning the perfect Jack-O-Lantern this Halloween? Don't let your labors go to waste: preserve your pumpkin for as long as possible. Yes, there are ways to delay the spread of rot and mold ... and you may be surprised to find what really works the best!

Now, there are lots of pumpkin preservation tips out there. Most popular suggestions include greasing the pumpkin all over with Vaseline or white craft glue, or soaking it in a bleach solution. Others swear by coating your Jack with acrylic spray or just plain old hairspray. You can even buy a special pumpkin-preserving spray called Pumpkin Fresh for this very purpose.

The debate has been greatly aided by an experiment from the folks at the (very fun) site, My Science Project. The conclusion: keep away from the white glue, Vaseline and acrylic spray. These substances encouraged mold to grow like crazy! The bleach solution was top for the first few days, but your best bets for longevity are a) apply Pumpkin Fresh or b) just leave your pumpkin au natural.

Bonus preserving tips

Tip 1: Whichever pumpkin preserver you opt for, remember that success hinges on keeping that baby as dry as possible. Any moisture accumulation will result in rapid decay and mold. Yuck.

Tip 2: Remember that your pumpkin is most vulnerable along its knife-cut surfaces. Therefore, if you periodically reapply your chosen preservative, be sure to focus on those exposed edges.

Tip 3: If your pumpkin starts looking shriveled, soak it in a bucket of cold water for about eight hours. It's said the pumpkin will absorb some of the water, thus hopefully restoring its original plumpness.

Have a Happy Halloween!


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