Use these easy methods to preserve pumpkin for later use – and enjoy delicious pumpkin desserts all winter long!
Pumpkins are everywhere this time of year, and if you love pumpkin everything, you may be wondering if there is a way to preserve pumpkin for long-term storage to enjoy over the winter.
While some types of pumpkins will keep for a while in storage, most of the ones that are best for eating (like pie pumpkins) don’t last that long on the shelf. If your pumpkins are totally mature and you leave the stem on, you may be able to keep them in cold storage in a root cellar (or another area that stays around 50-55 degrees) for a couple of months.
However, if you want them to last longer, there are a number of great ways to preserve your pumpkins for later use, as described in this podcast.
The first step to preserving pumpkin is to cook your pumpkin(s). There are a couple of methods for doing this. You can cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast at 350-degrees, cut side down in a baking pan with about 1/2″ of water until soft.
You can also roast your pumpkin whole in the oven, which will take longer. Check for doneness with a knife, and let cool before cutting open. Or, you can also cook your whole pumpkin in an Instant Pot if it will fit.
Once your pumpkin is nice and soft, clean out any seeds or strings, and you’re ready to proceed with the preservation method of your choice.
Here are 5 pumpkin preservation methods from the Pioneering Today Podcast to consider:
1. Freeze it. You can freeze it in puree form or in cubed. I usually put cubes of cooked pumpkin in a wide mouth pint-sized Mason jar because most of my recipes call for 2 cups of pumpkin. It thaws really quickly and I puree it right before using it in my recipes. You could put it in plastic bags as well, but I prefer to use my Mason jars.
3. Dehydrate it. You can dehydrate pumpkin in either puree or cubed form. Jane from Mom with a Prep prefers the puree and then grinds it into a powder. Check out her tutorial here, plus a pumpkin pie smoothie recipe using the dehydrated pumpkin.
4. Pumpkin fruit leather. How did I not think of this one on my own? Take pumpkin puree, applesauce, and spices and make them into a yummy fall fruit leather. Here’s the recipe http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/fruits/pumpkin-roll/
5. Pumpkin butter (NOT a canning option). We’ve got to talk about food safety here for a minute guys. Pumpkin butter is made from pumpkin, a non-acid food, and is only safe when pressure canned, but because pumpkin butter is thick it’s not safe to be canned in a pressure canner. Pumpkin butter is safe to freeze or store in the fridge, not canned. Don’t do it. I’m seeing lots of this on Pinterest and it’s not a safe practice to can pumpkin butter.
However, some yummy pumpkin butter is definitely a way to preserve some pumpkin… This is a great from-scratch recipe for Pumpkin Butter.