How to preserve pumpkins for decoration and make them last longer!
5 easy methods to preserve a pumpkin and to protect it from pests.
Pumpkins and gourds are often the perfect fall decoration because they usually last a long time.
Many people, including myself, love to make outdoor pumpkin displays on their front porch or steps.
Unfortunately, there are times our fall displays will rot early or get eaten by insects and squirrels.
I understand that after spending money on beautiful heirloom pumpkins and working hard to make your display look good, you don’t want your fall decorations ruined.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to go out and buy some pumpkin preserve spray.
I have found some great methods to protect your pumpkin and make it last longer by using regular household products.
How Long Do Pumpkins Last?
If you are wondering how long an uncut pumpkin lasts, then the answer is usually the entire fall season.
Typically, uncarved pumpkins that are healthy will last about 3 months.
Of course, that is dependent on weather exposure, changing temperatures, and pests.
By accident, I found out how long mini-pumpkins last which is, like I said, 3 months.
I know this to be true because my kids always want the mini-pumpkins at the grocery store as soon as they see them displayed in early September.
They keep them as long as they can, and that is until about Christmas.
How To Preserve A Pumpkin
There are many different methods for preserving pumpkins.
It really just depends on if it is carved, uncarved, or if you plan on eating it in the future.
You may be surprised to know you can preserve a pumpkin with several things you already have around your house like bleach, hairspray, or even vinegar.
This post will be going over how to preserve uncarved pumpkins for your front porch pumpkin display or your indoor fall decor. There is a different way to preserve carved pumpkins.
How To Preserve Uncarved Pumpkins & Gourds
These are the pumpkins and gourds that may be displayed in your home or on your porch.
Uncarved pumpkins can last for months, but if you want to keep insects and rodents away from your pumpkin harvest display, then these preservation methods will do the trick!
Method #1: Preserve Pumpkin With Hairspray
Just like hairspray preserves your curls, it will keep your uncarved pumpkin frozen in time.
Not only will spraying hairspray on your uncarved pumpkin keep all the pests away, but it will give a nice shiny sheen to your pumpkin display.
You should use a big aerosol can of hairspray, (think 80’s hair) to spray your entire pumpkin including the top stem.
The smell of the hairspray should deter most pests.
Pumpkin Preservation Method #2: Petroleum Jelly
We all know that petroleum jelly works as an amazing moisture barrier, so it is great to use on your pumpkins.
It will help keep your pumpkin hydrated and should prevent mold.
Just use a paper towel to spread a thin layer all over your pumpkin.
Due to petroleum jelly not having very much of a scent it may not deter the insects, but it will protect the pumpkins from squirrels and other rodents.
*Tip: A little pumpkin preservation hack I have recently heard is that you can mix hot sauce with petroleum jelly to keep the bugs away.
The pepper from the hot sauce should deter insects and rodents.
Just make sure you wear gloves when spreading the petroleum jelly and hot sauce mixture onto your pumpkin and gourds.
Pumpkin Preservation Method #3: Bleach
Using bleach on your uncarved pumpkin will kill any bacteria and mold on the surface.
When I want to persevere mini pumpkins and gourds for my indoor fall decor, I soak them in a mix of bleach and water.
Simply fill your sink basin with water and 2 tbsp. of bleach.
Soak the pumpkins for 1 hour, then rinse and dry them.
If you would prefer to soak your pumpkins outside, then just use a large bucket for the bleach and water.
This is the method I use year after year and I have never had a problem with any pests trying to eat my front porch display.
Pumpkin Preservation Method #4: Dish Soap
If you plan on eating your pumpkin in the future then you don’t want to use any chemicals while preserving your pumpkin.
The best way to preserve it for a little while would be by washing it thoroughly with dish soap and water.
The soap kills the bacteria and mold on the surface.
This will not deter insects or rodents, so if you use this method then these pumpkins should be kept indoors.
Method #5: Vinegar Pumpkin Preserve
Using vinegar to preserve your pumpkin is another non-chemical way to keep your pumpkin fresh and edible in the future.
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that will kill most fungus or mold growing on the surface of the pumpkin.
Although, it will not keep the insects and rodents from chowing on down your pumpkin display, so keep these pumpkins inside.
How To Make Pumpkins Last Longer
You can make pumpkins last longer by using regular household items like dish soap, petroleum jelly, or bleach
Use what you have to keep your pumpkins from rotting and protect them from getting eaten by squirrels.
These tips are for how to preserve uncarved pumpkins.
You can check out how to preserve carved pumpkins here to make your jack-o-lantern last longer!
What pumpkin preservation hacks have you used, please let me know in the comments!
For more fall decorating ideas, be sure to check out how to make DIY Dollar Tree pumpkins into farmhouse pumpkins!
Or my favorite DIY fall craft a wood-beaded pumpkin.