With Sharon Peterson
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.)
How to Prepare for Canning Pumpkin
Gather supplies for canning pumpkin:
A Note on Pureeing Pumpkin When You Open the Jar
If you need a pumpkin puree, then you will need to drain the pumpkin very well. I’ve found even then it will be thinner than commercially canned pumpkin. It will not get thick like fresh pumpkin.
If you are using it for a soup base, you can just puree it with the liquid from your jar. It all depends on what you are making.
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning seals and rings
- jar lifter
- canning funnel
- large pot or blancher
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels and dish cloths
- canning salt – optional
The Procedure 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.
Tips from Facebook
Al suggests: There is only one thing I would suggest. For those who have bad wrists, I would use an electric knife for cutting the rind.
Michele adds: I found if I put the pumpkin cut in half in the oven for 1 hour on 350 it softens them enough so I can peel them.
I have carpel tunnel & had to learn a new way to deal with heavy rind squashes… I do this with the huge pumpkins & add just enough water to fill the bottom of the pot & then put foil over the top so the steam helps soften them.
They are then cooled a bit & I can cut them up & put in the jars adding more hot water to fill the canning jar, no extra cooking/blanching needed.
They will be a bit softer in the jars but don’t turn to mush so this might help someone who has troubles with bad wrist.
Sharon’s reply: I did try this too, but I didn’t care for the pumpkin being so soft to start out. But it is most certainly an option.
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.
Processing Instructions for Canning Pupmkin
- Pints – 55 minutes.
- Quarts – 1 hour 30 minutes.
|Altitude in Feet||Dial Gauge Canner||Weighted Gauge Canner|
From Sharon’s Inbox:
Ok. So I read that you cannot can pureed pumpkin. And even if you chunk it up in cubes you have to pressure cook it not the boiling water bath. Is this true?
Yes, it is true. Pumpkin is low acid, so it needs the pressure canner. Can it chunky, then puree it when you use it.
I have heard that it is not advisable to can puree such as soup or like pumpkin. Why the advice against it? I have been doing it for some time.
Joanne, the reason is that the heat may not penetrate fully to the center of the jar. The USDA has not tested and come up with appropriate times for anything pureed. When I do pumpkins, I simply can it in chunks and then puree it when I open up the jar.
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