Fall is the season for pumpkins, squash and gourds – and all things harvest fun! Although these fruits last for months in dry storage, preserving their freshness in a jar will ensure you may enjoy them well into spring and summer! It is also a great alternative having home canned pumpkin on hand over store bought!
When selecting from the many squash varieties (acorn, butternut, Hubbard), be sure to choose those with hard rinds and those free from damage and mold spots! Pie pumpkins are the best for preserving as their pulp has less water, is less stringy and has a better flavor over traditional carving pumpkins. You will need about 2 ½ pounds of pumpkin/squash for every one quart jar. If canning in pints, 2 ½ pounds will yield approximately two pint jars.
Because the interior flesh of pumpkin/squash is so dense, especially when mashed or pureed, it is not recommended it be home canned in such a dense state. Proper home canning methods required heat to transfer evening through the jars contents ensure all harmful bacteria is killed during processing. When foods such as pumpkin/squash are too dense to ensure proper heat transfer, it is best to cube or dice large then pressure can. When using the home canned pumpkin/squash, you may mash or puree prior to its use in pies, breads and more!
Wash the exterior of your pumpkin and/or squash being sure to remove any dirt or debris. Cut your pie pumpkin or squash in half and remove all of the seeds using a large spoon. Using a peeler, carefully remove the rind. Cut the flesh into 1” cubes.
In a large stainless steel stock pot, cover the cubed pumpkin or squash with boiling water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes. Avoid letting the pumpkin or squash get soft so be sure not to over boil!
Drain the cubes in a large colander in the sink. Using a ladle and funnel, pack hot cubes into hot jars being sure to leave a generous 1” headspace. Rinse the stock pot and refill half way with water and bring to a boil while hot packing your jars.
Ladle fresh boiling water over top of the cubes being sure to keep the generous 1” headspace. Use your air bubble remover tool to remove any excess air trapped in the jar by sliding the tool around the interior of the jar. Adjust headspace with boiling water if necessary.
Wipe jar rims with a warm wash cloth dipped in vinegar. Place prepared lids and rings on each jar and hand tighten. Process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure, pints for 55 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.
The Canning Diva