Can Silica Packets Really Help Carved Pumpkins Last Longer?

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Pumpkin is the unofficial ambassador of autumn. Since this hard-shelled gourd is readily available and harvested during this season, it's a budget-friendly fall decor item used by many homeowners. However, this natural fall decor element is susceptible to molding and rotting. So, if you like carving out your pumpkins a few days before Halloween and want them to grace your porch and yard till Thanksgiving, you can try using silica gel packets to preserve them. Simply get some out of your new shoes or purses and place them inside the pumpkin. If you don't have any lying about, you can purchase 15 packets of 20-gram silica gel for under $7 on Amazon.

While whole pumpkins will easily last a month at room temperature and two to three months if stored in a cool, dry, and dark space, their lifespan decreases dramatically once they're carved. Carved pumpkins usually begin decaying and decomposing within three to seven days, as they're 90% water. Though their lifespan will depend on the temperature and their exposure to natural elements, removal of the rind will speed up the rotting process, allowing moisture and microbes to attack the pulp within.

How to use silica gel

Begin by opening the silica gel packets and getting the beads out. Once done, remove the pumpkin's top and gently push the beads into the pulp so they stay in place. You can use ¾ grams of the gel for every 100 cubic inches of your jack-o-lantern. But if this seems like a lot of work and you don't have the time to embed them painstakingly, you can simply sprinkle the beads inside. Alternatively, you can simply open a few packets and place them inside the carved pumpkins.

Being a desiccant, silica gels absorb the excess moisture, keeping the pumpkin's interiors dry and devoid of mold, rot, and pesky pests. It'll slow down the decomposition and help your jack-o-lanterns last longer. However, don't place a flickering candle inside the pumpkin to light it up, as silica gel is highly flammable. Exposure to high heat and light will also speed up the decomposition process. So, ensure you substitute candles with battery-operated ones to avoid unwarranted accidents.