Today’s dedication goes out to all my fellow Pumpkin Carvers. I’m often asked what’s the secret for Pumpkin Long Life. A few years back, I was interviewed by Portland’s #1 Daytime Drive Time DJ from KINK.FM, The lovely and talented Sheila Hamilton.
Here’s the link to the full 8 minute interview; https://soundcloud.com/kinkfm/tom-ziemann-the-chairman-of-the-gord-shares-his-expert-pumpkin-carving-tips
The Readers Digest version is: By using these easy tips, everyone should be able to keep their masterpiece well past Halloween. Having worked and been sculpting Pumpkins and Watermelons for many years... People are amazed at just how long carvings can last if they are properly cared for. I’ve had some make it over 3 weeks! That is not an exaggeration. People ask, “How can I make mine last longer”?
Refrigeration and Keeping them Hydrated are the main keys. A few tricks for pumpkin/watermelon preservation I've used for over 20 years are...
DO NOT CUT THE TOP OFF YOUR PUMPKIN!!! Always remember to cut out the bottom and leaving the stem on top as even a carved pumpkin can be kept alive longer with the nub left on as it can still feed itself. Think of Tomatoes on the vine. NEVER CARRY YOUR PUMPKIN BY THE STEM! Carry it on the bottom. When carving be certain to clean out the inside, removing all seeds and excess inner materials. MAKE IT SMOOTH AND CLEAN.
After you are finished carving it, spray LYSOL on the inside to inhibit mold.
Next, spray Pam cooking spray on the outside to stop the weeping or bleeding. Both methods work nicely and are easier than using bleach mixes or Vaseline.
Important note: I DO NOT recommend burning a candle to illuminate your pumpkin or watermelon except on Halloween night. Instead, use a tiny, small wattage electric light bulb (the kind with a toggle switch) or a battery-powered source. If you choose to use a candle, be certain to put the candle flame directly under the chimney (a small hole you will cut in the top of your sculpture to let heat escape) only burn a candle for a few hours at a time.
It is normal for Pumpkins and Watermelons to shrivel after being carved; you can revive a shriveled carving by soaking them in cold water for 1 to 8 hours. If doing this in the bathtub, be sure to put it on its non-carved side, or use a large bucket. It’s ok to let your caring float around. After removing it from the water, let it drain for ½ an hour then dry it off carefully.
If your sculpture molds, (turns soft) there's really nothing you can do.… Be sure to mist or soak it each and every time you light it up. Do this before putting it away. Wrap your finished masterpiece with Plastic wrap and store in a cold place.
Signed "The Chairman of the Gourd" lol