This is the sweet spot in a pumpkin's life. Thousands of pumpkins that have grown up in a patch are off the vine now, and the clock is ticking before the dreaded shrivel and rot happens. So how long do we have? And there is at least one thing we can do to get  pumpkins to last longer.

Once it's picked, a pumpkin lasts between 30 and 90 days. If you buy a pumpkin now, it could start looking a little sad right before Halloween, or it could last until Christmas!  That's a pretty wide range.

If you want to make sure it lasts through the end of October, there is something you can do to give the pumpkin's outer skin a good cure as it heads into its sitting season.

The experts say you can cure the pumpkin by putting it on a sunny window sill for up to a month.  The heat from the sun will help thicken the skin and make it tough, and that will help it last as a long as possible and gives you the best chance to use the pumpkin as a Thanksgiving decoration too.

Also remember that heat and humidity speed up the rotting process, so if it's not on a sunny window will, keep it in a cool and dry place.

Some East Texas pumpkin patches include:

  • Moore Farms in Tyler
  • Yesterland Farm in Van Zandt County
  • Blueberry Ridge Farm Bed and Breakfast in Mineola
  • Covered C Tree Farm in Crockett
  • Noble Oaks Farm in Texarkana
  • Paradise Garden Pumpkin Patch in Pittsburg

This is such a fun season!  Pumpkin patches are a great way to make the most of fall and experience the birthplace of all that pumpkin spice stuff.  And about the time your real pumpkin rots and you have to throw it away, the pumpkin spice foods will all be on clearance and you can stock the pantry til next Halloween.  Long live pumpkin.