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The stem is the best hint of a good pumpkin, look for one that is not shriveled or brittle, this would be a fresh pumpkin. To preserve your decorator pumpkin and protect it from bacteria, mix a tablespoon of bleach with a quart of water and use a cloth to wipe it inside and out. Then rub a layer of petroleum jelly on all cut surfaces to keep moisture in and bacteria out.
Source: Woman's Day - October issue
By Linda from Bellevue, NE
By Vickie from Earle, AR