Canning pumpkin in the pressure canner makes it safe to store and quick to use later in pumpkin butter, pies, muffins, or other pumpkin recipes.
I get questions on how to can pumpkin puree or pumpkin butter. My best advice is to can it in cubes. Puree it when you want to use it in your recipes. Easy! And more importantly, it's safe too.
Canning Winter Squash?
Winter squash is canned the same as pumpkin, so you're also in the right place if you're learning how to can winter squash!
The concern with pureeing when canning pumpkin it is that the density of the puree will be thick. The heat achieved in the pressure canner must reach all the way to the center of your jars. If your pumpkin is cubed, the heat will penetrate much better. Cubed is safer.
Should You Can Pumpkin in a Water Bath Canner?
Pumpkin is a low-acid food, so it MUST be processed in a pressure canner. There is no way around those recommendations. (Except, of course, to ignore them...which I don't suggest.)
Gather supplies for canning pumpkin:
The procedure for canning pumpkin is actually very straightforward. Seed it, skin it, cube it up, and place the cubes in jars. Process. I'll give my opinion here on the best way to do this, and then I'll give the research-based canning directions.
First step to canning pumpkin is seeding the pumpkin. Your best bet is to chop off the top of your pumpkin, removing the stem and top portion. Slice down the center to cut the pumpkin in half. This gives you better access to the seeds and strings. Next, just use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds. Save them for roasting or replanting in the spring if you have heirloom pumpkins.
Next, you need to take off the pumpkin skin. I tried several things. A regular vegetable peeler was useless, as the rind is far too tough. I tried using a knife to peel off the rind of each half. This was awkward. I had sharp knives slipping, and I was destined to chop off a finger. I knew I had find a better way or I'd be therefor HOURS (not to mention ending up fingertipless)!
Finally, I found the best way was to slice my pumpkin into strips.
I used a knife to slice off the rind. This was much more manageable. The pumpkin did not roll around on me. I was able to slice down into my butcher block and my fingers were safe!
I was still there quite a while slicing and peeling pumpkin, but it worked.
When you are canning pumpkin, you need to cut your pumpkin into about 1-inch cubes. (Remember, no pureeing!) Place in a large stock pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. You don't need to cook thoroughly, just enough to warm the pumpkin up and place hot in your jars.
Using a slotted spoon, I scooped out the pumpkin and placed in jars. If you want salt, add 1 teaspoon per quart or 1/2 tsp per pint. Then fill each jar with the cooking water, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Using a plastic spatula or other small tool, release any air bubbles. There is a tool you can buy for this step, but I find my orange peeler works perfectly.
Wipe the rims of your jar clean so there are no food particles to interfere with the seal. Place your canning lids. Here I was using traditional metal lids that I needed to use up.
Place your jars in your preheated canner and process as directed below. For more information on how to use your pressure canner, click here.
|Adjustments for Pressure Canner|
|Altitude in Feet||Dial Gauge Canner||Weighted Gauge Canner|
Canning Pumpkin Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/pumpkin_winter_squash.html
Page last updated: 8/31/2019