Pumpkin Pointers

* After purchase, it is a good idea to wash your pumpkin in a 10 to 1 water/bleach solution. This will eliminate any bacteria that might deteriorate the pumpkin's outside flesh.

* A carved pumpkin will only last about 1 week.

* If possible keep pumpkins off the bare ground where moisture can collect underneath and cause rot.

* When cutting the lid for a Jack-O-Lantern, hold the knife at a slight angle toward the center of the pumpkin to make the outside of the lid slightly larger than the inside. Also cut one notch in the back of the lid. That way, the lid will not fall into the pumpkin and you can easily know which way it fits too.

* After carving a design, you'll want to keep cut edges of the pumpkin fresh as long as possible. We've heard of two remedies for this. Rub petroleum jelly on the edges seals in the pumpkins natural moisture. Or, try rubbing a cut lemon on the edges which will slow oxidation.

* Rather than cutting, a fun way to create a Jack-O-Lantern face is to attach vegetables, fruit or candy to the pumpkin with toothpicks. Try cucumber slices and olives for eyes, squash for the nose or ears, an apple slice for the mouth with marshmallows or candy corn for teeth.

* Pumpkins can be carved into more than Jack-O-Lanterns. Use miniature pumpkins to hold candles by carving a hole in the to the size to fit your candle. Medium or large pumpkins make cute vases wet floral foam to fix your arrangement in the pumpkin.

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