Canning & Freezing Pumpkin

How could summer have gone by so quickly. We are starting to clear out the garden, settle into our school routine, Penn State football and other college football games have started, and the pumpkins are orange.

We've never had much luck growing pumpkins. I remember one year my parents had a couple huge pumpkins in their garden. We were so excited to carve them, and one night someone came and stole the pumpkins right out of the garden! This year the pumpkins I planted didn't do much. The volunteer pumpkins did a little better.

I decided I was going to can the pumpkin. I am not sure why. I've cooked with fresh pumpkins and I've frozen mashed pumpkin before, but never canned pumpkin, until this year. FYI: The USDA does not recommend canning mashed pumpkin or puree.

To Can Pumpkin
First wash the pumpkin. Cut it in 1/2 and scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff. Then slice into 1" slices. Peel.

Cut into 1" cubes. Put in a pot. Cover with boiling water. Bring back to a boil and boil for two minutes.

Pack hot into hot jars. Cover with boiling water. Put on lids and process in the pressure canner at 10lbs pressure for 90 minutes (quarts.)

From three medium sized pumpkins I got 7 quarts.

It seems pretty simple as I type it out here, but let me tell you, it was a lot of work. Cutting up those pumpkins was hard. I will not be canning pumpkin again. I will freeze it from now on. It is much easier.

To Freeze Pumpkin
Simply halve your pumpkin. Scoop out all the seeds and yuck. Cook your pumpkin until it is soft. You can bake it or boil it, but I just do it in the microwave. Put the pumpkin (or other squash for that matter) cut side down and cook until you can press in on it with your finger.

Let it cool. Then peel. The peel should pull off easily, or you can scoop out the cooked flesh. Mash up the pumpkin with a fork or a potato masher. Put it into your freezer containers (repurposed cottage cheese or sour cream containers do nicely.) If it is still warm, let it cool and stick it in your freezer. Voila!

Now I can say I've canned pumpkin, and that when it comes to preserving pumpkin, I will be freezing it.

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