Canning Pumpkin

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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.

The procedure for canning pumpkin is actually very straightforward. Seed it, skin it, cube it up, and place the cubes in jars. Honestly, the cutting up and prep is the hardest part.

A pint jar filled with canned pumpkin cubes.

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.

Butternut Squash is another winter squash that can be canned.

Extended directions and tips How to Can Pumpkin

Quantity  

You’ll need about 2¼ pounds of squash per quart canning jar.  This is a close estimate.

  • 7 quart jars = 16 lbs of squash 
  • 9 pints = 10 lbs of squash 

Know Your Canner  

Before you start this project, know how to operate your pressure canner. If you need help, I recommend reading this: How to use a pressure canner. It will teach you how your canner works.. Using a pressure canner is important because squash is a low-acid vegetable. 

Prepare your pumpkin

Watch those fingers and sharp knives! Pumpkins tend to roll.

Inside of a pumpkin with seeds and pulp.

The first step 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. You are not carving this as a decoration on your front step so just open it up and get to the seeds. Then use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds. Save them for roasting or replanting in the spring if you have heirloom pumpkins.

How to Peel a Pumpkin (without chopping off your fingers!)

Next, you need to peel the pumpkin. This is where it gets tricky. I tried several things. A regular vegetable peeler was useless, as the rind is far too tough. I tried using a knife to peel 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 to find a better way or I’d be there for HOURS (not to mention ending up fingertipless)!

Slicing pale colored pumpkin into smaller pieces with skin still attached.

Finally, I found the best way was to slice my pumpkin into strips.

Removing peels using a sharp knife.

Then use 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.

Pot filled with cubes of raw pumpkin.

Fill your canning jars:

Next 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 2 minutes. This will warm the pumpkin up. Pumpkin must be a hot pack. Do not put raw cubes in your jar. Next fill your hot jars leaving a 1 inch headspace.

Packing hot cubes of pumpkin into clean canning 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 of headspace.

Removing bubbles from jars filled with cubed pumpkin.

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.

Removing bubbles from jars packed with pumpkin cubes and liquid.

Wipe the rim of the 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.

Tightening screw bands on jars of pumpkin.

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 Pumpkin

  • Pints – 55 minutes.
  • Quarts – 1 hour 30 minutes.

Be sure and use the proper pressure for your altitude. Check the altitude chart in the recipe card below.

Tips and Frequently Asked Questions.

Canning Other Squash?

The good news is, Yes! Canning Squash is possible with the right canning methods. Check this post – How to can both summer and winter squash. Recipes for both summer and winter squash.  

Can you can pumpkin Puree?

When you are canning pumpkin or any other winter squash you must can it in cubes. You should not puree it, then try to preserve it in jars. The concern with pureeing 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 and is the only way this process has been tested. I recommend that you do NOT follow online instruction you may find for how to can pumpkin puree.

If you need a pumpkin puree, mash it up when you open the jar. You will need to drain the pumpkin very well. I’ve found even then it will be thinner than commercially canned 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. It will not get thick like fresh pumpkin, but it works.

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.) I do not teach how to can pumpkin in a water bath.

Can you can pumpkin without a pressure cooker?

No, pumpkin must be processed in a pressure canner.

Can I use my fall decoration pumpkin for canning?

If these are your carved jack-o-lantern pumpkins do not preserve them. (they make great chicken or goat treats!) These types of pumpkins may be canned… but not if they have been on your step for days or weeks. They may not have as sweet a flavor as say a small pie pumpkin, but they work just great. I’ve canned them before. Just be sure you are using a fresh pumpkin.

Recipe Card

This is a printable version of the recipe with short sweet instruction. If you skipped here don’t forget to check above for peeling tips and specifics on directions.

Canning Pumpkin & Winter Squash

Canning Pumpkin & Winter Squash should be done in pieces, not puree, for safety reasons. Here's how to safely can pumpkin at home, using your pressure canner.
Print Recipe
A pint jar filled with canned pumpkin cubes.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Processing Quarts (adjust for altitude):1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time:2 hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Start by preparing your jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    If you are new to using a pressure canner, see this article for full pressure canning instructions. This includes more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how a pressure canner works.

Hot pack only

  • Seed and peel pumpkin, then cut into 1” cubes.
  • Place cubes in large stockpot, add water and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  • Fill jar with pumpkin cubes.
  • Add salt (1/2 tsp. per pint or 1 tsp. per quart) if desired.
  • Fill jar with cooking water, leaving 1”headspace.
  • Remove bubbles, wipe the rim clean, and place on your seal and ring.Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.
  • Process in a pressure canner according to the directions below.

Notes

Processing with a Pressure Canner
Place the jars in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the prepared hot canner. 
Put the lid on the canner leaving the weights off.  Bring to a boil. Watch for the steam to start coming out the vent pipe in the lid.
Allow the steam to ‘vent’ for 10 minutes then put the weights on. Use the proper weight for your altitude (check the chart below) This is when pressure will start to build.  
When the pressure reaches the pressure required for your altitude (check the chart below) that is when you’ll start your time.  Process for the full time indicated, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the correct pressure for the entire time.
When processing time is completed turn off the heat. Do not remove weights yet. Let the canner sit undisturbed until pressure comes back to zero. Do not try to speed up the cooling process.
Remove the weight and wait 5 minutes.
Open the lid to allow steam to escape. (carefully don’t let it hit your face or arms!) Leave the lid setting on top of the canner slightly ajar and wait 5 minutes.
Take the lid off the canner and remove your jars. (optionally you can wait another 5 minutes if the contents appear to be bubbling so hard it is coming out of the jars)
Put the jars a few inches apart on a thick towel and allow them to cool to room temperature undisturbed. 12 hours is suggested.
When the jars are cool, remove the metal bands, check the seals, and store the jars in a cool dark place.
Processing Instructions (Hot Pack) 
Process pints for 55 minutes or quarts for 1 hour 30 minutes, adjusting for altitude.  
Altitude Adjustments for Pressure Canner  
Altitude – Dial Gauge   
0-1,000 ft – 10 pounds  
1,001-10,000 ft -15 pounds  
Altitude – Weighted Gauge
0-2,000 ft – 11 pounds  
2,001-4,000 ft – 12 pounds 
4,001-6,000 ft – 13 pounds
6,001-8,000 ft – 14 pounds
8,001-10,000 ft – 15 pounds
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation 

Canning Pumpkin Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation

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Canning Pumpkin


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Anna Hansen
Anna Hansen
5 months ago

PEELING MADE EASIER! Yay. I haven’t done the recipe yet it sounds good. But the main reason I have never tried was because the squash or pumpkin skin was too tough.
I found a good solution sitting in my husbands tool box. It’s called a SURFORM SHAVER. Works great and is a lot safer then anything I’ve ever tried. Yes, it’s a tool. It doesn’t rust. Easy clean. Plus the shreds will go to the chickens.

Anna Hansen
Anna Hansen
5 months ago

4 stars
I have to share this info for peeling the pumpkin. I have physical issues that make it hard to peel in general. Try this it’s amazing use a surform shaver. Yes, it really turns a time consuming and finger fearing task into an easier and for the most part safer job. The rasp shaves shreds of the skin leaving the flesh.

The shreds are something the chickens will love.

I realized the kids pumpkin carving kit was an asset. So I’ve purchased a simple set to clean the pumpkin out. Possibly to cut up.

Jen
Jen
2 years ago

I had an idea to use my old fashioned french fry cutter to cut the cubes. It’s only half inch cubes. Is that too small for safe canning?

Martha
Martha
2 years ago

4 stars
A practical note: if you have pureed your pumpkin immediately after cooking/steaming it, it will be…hot. Heated through, the puree will be perfectly safe to can, store, and eat later. Why is the obvious so difficult to see?