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The treat of a freshly-carved pumpkin can be tricky to maintain in the Upstate’s warm climate. Try extending the life of your jack-o’-lantern with these tips from Gilbert Miller, area vegetable specialist at the Clemson University Edisto Research and Education Center in Blacksville.

Avoid storing with apples. “Apples produce ethylene gas which speeds up the ripening process in pumpkins,” Miller said.

Choose a cured pumpkin. A freshly-picked pumpkin from the patch may sound tempting, but “pumpkins need to undergo a curing process to harden the skin and make it more tolerant of decaying organisms,” he said.

Wash the pumpkin. This will reduce pathogens, Miller said.

Use a bleach solution. Take washing a step further with a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach, Miller said.

Eat it! Miller said there is high nutritional value in pumpkins. Uncured pumpkins are edible, but curing converts starch to additional sugar for better flavor, he said.

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