How to Can Pumpkin At Home


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Learn how to can pumpkin at home using a pressure canner. Make your fall pumpkin and squash harvest shelf stable and ready to use all year long by following this easy recipe for home-canned pumpkin or winter squash.

* * *

It hardly needs to be said that anything with the word pumpkin in it is a much anticipated fall favourite.

An icon of sweater season, pumpkin (and pumpkin spice) has come to symbolize comfort and warmth and wholesomeness as we cozy up in our cable knits and enjoy brisk walks through fallen leaves on a crisp autumn day.

But as much as we tend to think of pumpkin as being strictly a fall fruit -and yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable because it comes from a flowering vine- we can benefit from eating pumpkin all year long by preserving it when it’s in season. 

 

How to Preserve Pumpkin

Canning is almost always my favourite form of preserving because it makes food shelf-stable for long periods of time and means that when I want to use that food, all I need to do is open a can and it’s ready to eat, (or at least ready to be added to whatever I’m cooking). 

When it comes to pumpkin and squash, my favourite way to preserve them is actually to do nothing at all because that means less work in the fall when we’re at the end of a long harvest and canning season. Both pumpkins and squashes store well for especially long periods of time when kept in cold storage so they really don’t require any special treatment in order to preserve them. 

But eventually after a few months they may begin to go soft and start to rot, especially if they’re keep in an area that’s room temperature or warmer. So if you find yourself with an abundance of any type of winter squash (this includes pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash and the many other varieties out there), you might want to preserve some by canning them in case you don’t get around to using them all before they start to go bad.

Another reason why you might want to can pumpkin is for convenience. Sure, it’s more work up front to prepare and process it all, but that means your work is done when it comes time to actually use it in a dish.

All you need to do is crack open a jar, strain out the liquid and toss your cubed pumpkin into a stir-fry, a pot pie, a pasta dish or simply enjoyed with a little butter as a side dish. Or you can purée it of course and turn it into a drool-worthy pumpkin pie. Either way, canning pumpkin means it’s ready to go when you are and frees you from worrying about your fresh pumpkins going bad before you get around to eating them all.

 

The Two Unbreakable Rules of Canning Pumpkin At Home

A couple caveats when it comes to home-canned pumpkin is that a) you must, I repeat YOU MUST use a pressure canner, and b) you cannot, I repeat YOU CANNOT can pumpkin purée.

The only safe way to can pumpkin or squash at home is in a pressure canner in cubed form. 

You can’t use a water bath canner for pumpkin and squash because they are low acid vegetables that can breed deadly botulism spores if they’re not processed at high enough temperatures that only a pressure canner can reach.

And you can’t can pumpkin purée at home because it’s too thick for a home pressure canner to be able to kill all potentially harmful bacteria. You can freeze pumpkin purée, of course. But when it comes to canning you must can it in cubed form and then purée before using if you want to use it to make pumpkin pie or blend it into a soup or something.

Alright, so now that we’re clear on the two unbreakable rules of canning pumpkin at home, here’s how to do it…

 

Preparing Pumpkins for Canning

Once you’ve got your pumpkin(s), you’re ready to start prepping them for processing. This is the most tedious part of the whole process as you need to slice, peel and gut your pumpkins before cutting them up into cubes. 

The best way I’ve found to do this is to cut each pumpkin in half first and scoop out all the guts. (Save the seeds for eating later!) Next, cut each half into slices approximately one-inch thick. I cut each half of a 5-pound pie pumpkin into 8 slices, giving me 16 slices total. If your pumpkin is smaller you might opt to cut each half into 4 or 6 slices. Use your discretion.

Next, use a vegetable peeler to peel the hard skin off each slice. I find it much easier to slice and then peel, rather than peel first, as I can get all of the skin off without leaving spots behind that were hard to get at with the peeler.

If you’re still having trouble using a vegetable peeler though you can use a kitchen knife to slice off skins.

Once your pumpkins are sliced, chop the slices into one-inch cubes. When you’ve finished cutting up all the pumpkin, put it aside and prepare your jars and canner.

 

Canning Pumpkin

Wash your jars!

First thing’s first, wash your jars and bands with hot, soapy water. And as per always, ONLY USE NEW LIDS WHEN CANNING! Sorry for yelling;)

Fill jars with hot tap water to keep them warm (or keep them hot in the dishwasher if using). They don’t need to be sterilized in the canner because the high temperatures achieved when pressure canning are enough to kill all bacteria.

Onto the canner…

The best thing about pressure canning is that you don’t need much water. It takes a lot of water to can in a water bath canner, but just 2-3 inches of water for pressure canning. Check with your owner’s manual for instructions on exactly how much water to add for your make and model.

Go ahead and put your water in now but leave the heat off. Make sure your canning rack is sitting on the bottom of your canner so your jars don’t touch the bottom directly.

Back to the pumpkin…

Transfer pumpkin cubes to a large, stainless steel pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

How to Can Pumpkin At Home

Get hot jars ready for packing on a towel on the counter. (Never put hot jars on a cool countertop as it can crack the jar).

Use a slotted spoon to transfer pumpkin from the pot to the jars. I love my canning funnel too, and it works really well for canning pumpkin so the cubes all make it into the jar.

Fill jars up, leaving a generous one-inch headspace. Pour the boiling water from your pot over top of pumpkin cubes and leave one inch of headspace.

Learn how to can pumpkin at home using a pressure canner. Make your fall pumpkin and squash harvest shelf stable and ready to use all year long! #canningpumpkin #preservingpumpkin #howtocanpumpkin #homecannedpumpkin #pressurecanningpumpkin

Use the end of a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula (or this handy bubble remover tool that I really want for Christmas… hint to family members reading this;) and slide it around the jar to release any trapped air bubbles.

I always used to recommend using a knife or a spoon handle or something but I’ve recently read that now you’re not supposed to use anything metallic. Or maybe I’m just late to the party? 

I’ve never had a problem using a clean knife or spoon handle to release trapped air bubbles, so if it’s all you’ve got I wouldn’t worry too much.

Anyway, release air bubbles and then adjust head space as needed.

Wipe rims, put new lids on jars and screw bands down. Then pop ‘em in the canner. You might want these. (I won’t can without them).

Process pint jars in pressure canner for 55 minutes or quart jars for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (15 pounds if you’re higher than 1,000 feet above sea level).

 

How to Pressure Can Pumpkin

For detailed instructions, tips and safety precautions on pressure canning, check out this post. If you’re already familiar and comfortable with pressure canning but want a quick and dirty refresher, read the following…

1. Place and lock lid onto pressure canner and set temperature to high. Do not put the weighted gauge on the lid just yet. 

2. First allow your pressure canner to get hot enough and build up enough pressure that steam starts to stream out of the spout steadily. Set your timer for 10 minutes and let the steam vent. 

3. Then place the gauge on top and wait until it starts rattling constantly. Place gauge on at 10 pounds of pressure if you’re less than 1,000 feet above sea level or place it on at 15 pounds of pressure if you’re more than 1,000 feet above sea level.

4. Once the gauge is rattling constantly, start your timer. For pint jars, set timer to 55 minutes. For quart jars, set timer to 90 minutes. Reduce temperature to around medium or just under, until weighted gauge only rattles between 1 and 4 times per minute. Keep canner operating here for the duration of processing time, adjusting heat if necessary to keep gauge rattling 1 to 4 times per minute.

5. Once time is up, turn heat off and allow canner to cool completely before removing gauge. Wait until it has completely stopped rattling and then wait another couple minutes. Use an oven mitt to remove gauge and watch for steam. Remove lid away from you so you don’t burn your face with hot steam!

6. Let jars sit in the canner with the lid off for another 10 minutes. Then remove and let cool completely on the counter before storing.

There you have it! Home-canned pumpkin that’s safe and healthy and homemade (maybe even homegrown??) with no added preservatives or questionable ingredients lurking in those jars. Food you can feel good about serving to your family and that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice, whether for a weeknight meal or a holiday dinner. 

Learn how to can pumpkin at home using a pressure canner. Make your fall pumpkin and squash harvest shelf stable and ready to use all year long! #canningpumpkin #preservingpumpkin #howtocanpumpkin #homecannedpumpkin #pressurecanningpumpkin

Use your canned pumpkin purée in:

  • Soups & stews
  • Stir fries
  • Pasta dishes
  • Sweet & Savoury pies
  • Baked casseroles & desserts
  • Smoothies
  • As an addition to oatmeal

And I’m sure there are many other creative recipe ideas out there. Do you know any? How else do/would you use home-canned pumpkin? As always, let me know down below 🙂

 

Canning tools I use and love:

Learn how to can pumpkin at home using a pressure canner. Make your fall pumpkin and squash harvest shelf stable and ready to use all year long! #canningpumpkin #preservepumpkin #howtocanpumpkin

How to Can Pumpkin At Home

Yield: approx. 4 quarts

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin or winter squash (sugar pumpkin is a prime candidate for canning)
  • Water (to boil and cover pumpkin cubes in jars)
  • Jars, bands and lids (a 5-pound pumpkin will fill approximately 8 pint jars or 4 quarts).

Instructions

  1. Prepare canner, jars, bands and lids. Fill pressure canner with 2-3 inches of water and wash jars and bands in hot, soapy water.
  2. Prepare pumpkin. Slice in half and scoop out the insides (seeds and "guts").Cut off the stem and blossom ends. Slice each half into 4 to 8 slices depending on the size of the pumpkin. Peel slices and chop into one-inch cubes.
  3. Place pumpkin cubes in a large stainless steel pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and boil hard for two minutes to blanch pumpkin.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pumpkin from the boiling water to hot jars. Pack pumpkin in jars, leaving a generous one-inch headspace at the top. Cover pumpkin with boiling water (I use the boiling water from the pot) and leave one inch of headspace at the top.
  5. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as needed. Wipe rims and place new lids on top. Screw on bands, tightening to fingertip tight. Place jars in canner.
  6. Process pint jars for 55 minutes or quart jars for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (or at 15 pounds of pressure if you're more than 1,000 feet above sea level).

CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

10 Comments

  1. Laura

    If you are looking to have the equivalent of can of pureed pumpkin for a pie should I can quarts of cubed pumpkin or pints?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Ashley Constance

      It totally depends on the size and quantities of pie that you usually make! Smaller jars will always offer you more flexibility when it comes time to measure and use it, though. -Ashley (assistant)

      Reply
      • Laura

        Most pie recipes expect a 15.5 oz can of pumpkin puree so that is what I was asking about. My guess is a pint of cubes won’t give the equivalent of a store bought can of puree but maybe I was wrong. Thoughts?

        Reply
  2. Judith

    That leaves me perplexed. I buy canned, pureed pumpkin in the store!
    Why the panic all over the web?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Judith,

      It’s because home pressure canners don’t reach the same high temperatures as commercially canned food, and pumpkin purée is so thick that a home pressure canner can’t penetrate all the way through to kill off all potentially harmful microorganisms. I just cube it and then it’s super easy to drain it and purée it after. Otherwise I freeze it in puréed form:)

      Reply
  3. Anita Hayden

    Can you please show us how to can peaches

    Reply
  4. Valery

    Love to can pumpkin! But you can totally can pumpkin puree. I’m not sure where this rumor got started, but I keep seeing it posted. Sunset Magazine authored a book, “Canning Freezing & Drying” and the instructions for pumpkin say to steam until soft, then press through a colander or mash before boiling for a hot pack and processing at 10 pounds for 85 minutes or 115 minutes (pints/quarts). I’ve done it and it makes great soups and curries. May be too liquid for pie though. Haven’t tried.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Valery,

      Unfortunately there is a risk if/when you can pumpkin purée as it’s too thick for even the heat of a pressure canner to penetrate all the way through, which can mean not all botulism spores are killed, and since pumpkin is a low-acid food, this can lead to botulism poisoning. You may have been lucky so far but I would definitely recommend against canning pumpkin purée. Either can it cubed and purée it when ready to use, or freeze the purée. Here’s advice from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: https://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/fall/pumpkins.html#:~:text=Canning%20pumpkin%20butter%20or%20mashed,pureed%20pumpkin%20or%20winter%20squash.

      Reply
  5. Lisa Grace

    I love canned pumpkin! Hubs loves pumpkin pie. So easy with the canned cubes.

    I have a 10 year old doggo that has digestive issues, so I give her one cube with dinner every day to keep her system moving.

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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#houseandhomestead
#momentsofcalm
#pursuejoy
#simplepleasuresoflife
#thatauthenticfeeling
#findhappiness
#artofslowliving
#simplelifepleasures
#lifesimplepleasure
#simplepleasuresinlife
#thatauthenticlife
#authenticlifestyle
#liveanauthenticlife
#livinginspired
#savouringhappiness
#livemoment
#localgoodness
#simplelive
#lifeouthere
#enjoywhatyouhave
#frugallifestyle
#homesteadingmama
#offgridhomestead
#modernfarmhousekitchen
#crunchymama
#rusticfarmhouse
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#farmhouselife
#modernhomesteading
#backyardfarmer
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