Hollow out pumpkin and ornamental squash to preserve

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Hollow out pumpkin and ornamental squash to preserve: preserve

That the pumpkin does not last forever, is understandable. After all, it is a fruit vegetable that consists of a high percentage (up to 90%) of water and that not only loses it over time, but also comes into contact with bacteria that decompose or cause mold. Dehydration, mold and bacteria are therefore the main reasons for the decay of a pumpkin. Hollowed out Halloween pumpkins are particularly at risk because firstly they receive a lot of pulp and thus water and secondly the pumpkin is injured. Thus, more microorganisms can penetrate.

Various methods of conservation

Some methods of preserving a pumpkin are based on removing the water from it. Others do the exact opposite. Here it is tried to get the pumpkin as fresh as possible and to supply it with water. Above all, it is important to avoid bacteria as much as possible or to kill them so that the loss does not go even faster. Halloween pumpkins must always be eroded first before preservation. For a hollowed-out pumpkin and ornamental squash, different methods are usually used to preserve them. Here is an overview of varieties of potential Halloween pumpkins:
  • Jack O'lantern (lantern pumpkin)
  • Little Latern
  • Neon F1
  • Sweet Jack
  • Aspen pumpkin
  • Autumn King
  • Baby Bear
Examples of ornamental squash:
  • Shenot Crowns
  • Gourd Verruquese
  • Mini ball
  • Autumn Wing

The perfect harvest time

Pressure points, injuries or cuts promote the penetration of bacteria and thus rot and mold. Therefore, only those pumpkins should be used, which have an absolutely undamaged shell. In addition, the right harvest time is extremely important for the durability of a pumpkin. The size and color of the fruits alone does not tell you anything about the degree of ripeness. Signs of a ripe pumpkin:
  • Stalk lignified
  • solid, hard shell
  • must sound hollow when knocked


If you do not want the pumpkin to be used immediately, it should not just be stored somewhere and somehow. Good storage conditions:
  • Wooden box (permeable to air)
  • lay out with polystyrene
  • Temperature: 15-20° C

Hollow out Halloween pumpkin properly

Before a pumpkin is hollowed out, its shell must first be thoroughly washed. On the outer skin are always a lot of microorganisms present, which otherwise penetrate into the interior of the pumpkin.
  • wash with lukewarm soapy water
  • rinse with clear water
  • dry
A Halloween pumpkin must be very carefully and completely eroded. All sticky ingredients are very prone to mold.
  • sharp, very clean tool
  • smooth cuts without fringes and unnecessary corners
Tip: How thick the leftover pulp is has no significant impact on shelf life. If something was cut off too much, that's not bad.

Slow mold growth in the hollowed pumpkin

Pumpkin hollow out cores

To kill microorganisms such as bacteria, various means are possible. As the products are corrosive and pose a risk to the skin and eyes, always wear gloves and possibly safety goggles. When soaking for a long time, the bucket must be placed in a child- and pet-safe manner to prevent accidents. Bacteria killing agents:
  • vinegar
  • citric acid
  • bleaching
Acid or bleach is always diluted with water applied and the hollowed out pumpkin with the opening down.
  • Bucket or larger vessel
  • Bleach: 15 ml per liter of water
  • Lemon juice: one part water plus one part citric acid
  • cold water
  • Soak for at least an hour or overnight
  • dry well
  • Rub in cut edges with petroleum jelly (seal)
Tip: Special pumpkin sprays usually contain a bacteria-killing component and an oil or wax.

Get moisture

  1. with paint or hairspray: When the pumpkin is cleanly eroded and well dried, it is sprayed inside and out with hair spray or varnish. The varnish seals the surface, preventing the pumpkin from losing fluid. From time to time should be sprayed. Unfortunately, this method does not protect against mold growth.

  2. with Vaseline: A good home remedy for keeping a Halloween pumpkin a little longer is Vaseline. Just dry well with a paper towel after emptying and apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly. Holds two to three weeks.

  3. with broom or beeswax: A wax cover protects the delicate pumpkin from water loss and pressure points. In addition, it gives body or beeswax a natural shine.

By the way: If the Halloween pumpkin shriveled - but not moldy - helps the scary face a makeover: overnight in a bucket of cold water insert!

Drying ornamental gourds

Quick dehydration, for example at higher temperatures in the oven or on the heater, causes the pumpkin to lose its water, but it also shrinks greatly during this procedure and becomes unsightly and wrinkled. The safest way to preserve a pumpkin is by slow drying. And for months. Not a viable way to quickly preserve a Halloween pumpkin. The drying is ideal for ornamental squashes. An ornamental gourd contains less pulp and thus water, making it easier to dry.
  • Harvest ripe pumpkin when the leaves on the tendrils are already slightly dry
  • cut with a smooth cut
  • IMPORTANT: Leave 3-5 cm of stalk
  • Helps in the discharge of water
  • Wash pumpkin with lukewarm soapy water
  • rinse with clear water
  • in the garage, the house or a shed to dry out
  • put on higher surface
  • even from below, air must come to the pumpkin (boards with a gap)
  • Pay attention to good air circulation
  • Carefully turn over every two to three weeks
Depending on the size of the pumpkin, it can take between six and twelve months for the pumpkin to dry. A good indication for the drying is that when shaking a rattling sound (by the cores) is audible and the pumpkin is very light. In some cases, the cores may also be stuck inside and therefore will not cause noise.
Alternatively, the ornamental squash can also be hung up to dry. Wrap the pumpkin on a stick with a string and hang it in a well-ventilated area. To better dissipate moisture from inside, use a clean nail to pierce three to four holes in the bottom. Inside buildings, it is advisable to put a newspaper or a flower stand underneath to avoid stains. After drying the pumpkins are to be washed once again with soapy water. If the shell has become wrinkled or stained, the outer layer can be gently scraped off with a clean, sharp knife.
A Halloween pumpkin is best first eroded and then dipped into a bacteria killing solution. So that he better holds the water, the creaming with petroleum jelly or beeswax has proven itself. Ornamental gourds can be hung or dried on an air-permeable surface with good air circulation. These methods keep the scary face of a hollowed-out pumpkin fresh for about two to three weeks, ornamental pumpkins sometimes stay nice for up to several years if well dried.

Worth knowing about hollowed out pumpkins shortly

Custom of pumpkin carving
  • The custom was originally to carve a pumpkin from Ireland on Halloween.
  • In his time, however, beets were carved to drive away evil spirits.
  • As the custom spread to America, it was mainly pumpkins that were used instead of turnips.
  • These are much better for carving because of their texture and size.
  • Since then, pumpkins for Halloween carving have been used to this day.
Use pumpkin
  • The pulp of the pumpkin is extremely healthy and tasty.
  • Therefore, the hollow fruit pulp produced by pumpkin carving is the basis for many delicious dishes: pumpkin soup, boiled potato and pumpkin salad, chili con pumpkin, meat and pumpkin stew, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pan with herbs or pumpkin ice cream
  • The pulp can also be easily grilled, roasted or pickled.
  • Some pumpkin varieties have oily seeds that make up the popular pumpkin seed oil.

Video Board: How to Dry Gourds for Crafting.

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