Thursday, October 2, 2014

How to make your Pumpkin and Squash Last all season

With my garden last year I discovered that to make your squash last without refrigeration was a very simple step. I had a bumper crop of spaghetti squash last year (this year is only two) and I wanted to keep them fresh, but I did not have room for all of them in my refrigerator. The cure works for spaghetti squash, acorn squash and this time of year the almighty pumpkin. So if you grow a bumper crop or you find a deal at the store keep this trick in mind. I love baked squash so I like to buy lots when the price is right. I myself find that if I neglect to buy a pumpkin early enough in the season, there are none left near Halloween. When the girls were younger we had a few years we had to make pumpkins as there were none to buy. Kids do not like missing out on the yearly carving of pumpkins.

I have also found that I like to buy a few pumpkins for decoration during the month of October and late September. So I got my pumpkins on September 30th and set about to get them ready for creating a display at my front door.
When you are buying your pumpkin you want to look for mold and blemishes. If there are any spots that look soft find a different pumpkin. There are so many ideas out there with ways to use uncarved pumpkins. The secret to keeping them fresh is to give them a bath with a little bleach.

Fill the sink a quarter full of warm water and a 1/4 cup of liquid bleach. Not colour safe bleach just the stuff your Grandma used. Gear yourself up with a pair of rubber gloves. These are highly recommended if you do not want your hands to become toxic and super dry. Set your pumpkin in the sink and bath it like you would a baby. Use a cloth dipped in the bleach water to bath your squash. Wipe it down, paying special attention to the stem area and the bottom. You will be surprised how dirty the water gets. Remove your pumpkin or squash from the water and let it dry on a bleach proof towel. You want to leave the bleach water to dry on the surface. It will give you an extra degree of protection. Just remember to wash your squash first if you are cooking it to remove the remaining bleach water.
The quality of this photo is from my old camera. The new one is so much better.

My spaghetti squash from last year’s garden are still looking good. I even used them last year as a display in my kitchen, in place of the typical pumpkin. Here
This trick will preserve your carved pumpkin for a while longer too. If you want your pumpkin to last longer than 8 days I recommend you read this information called My Science Experiment. This person did time tests using many different preservation methods. I recommend you use several methods together. Soak your pumpkin overnight in a bleach solution. Then when it is dry slather on Vaseline to the carved parts of the pumpkin or spray it with Acrylic finishing spray. The bleach solution will kill any bacteria. The Vaseline or spray will seal in the bleach and the moisture. You could buy Pumpkin Fresh solution if you want, but it is much more expensive.  You can find pumpkin fresh on their website
I hope this helps you to preserve your pumpkins as long as you want it to. Happy October.

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