Ahhh the pumpkins… I love the smell. I love the taste. I love the texture. How can anyone not love pumpkin!? 😀
Over the last two days I decided that I wouldn’t let my four pumpkins go bad. I started doing some research on what’s the best way to preserve them. I know my parents keep their pumpkins in the cold dark basement and they are good all the way through Christmas. I, however, do not have a cold dark basement. So what do I do?
I found some articles about canning pumpkin where the authors said that it’s best to can it in pieces rather than pureed. And because pumpkin has low acidity, it has to be processed in a pressure canner. Hm… I have no pressure canner. So moving along…
Then I found some articles talking about freezing pumpkin pieces and turning them into puree when you need them. I didn’t like this approach as I didn’t want to end up with drier stiffer pumpkin once it defrosts. (maybe it wouldn’t have been dry and stiff, but in my mind it was LOL)…
Then I finally found something I thought would fit perfectly my pumpkin needs 😀 Freeze the puree after you make it. Then I thought that I didn’t want to just steam or boil the pumpkin. I wanted as much flavour as possible. And one of my favourite ways to eat pumpkin is roasted in the oven. So I decided to roast the pumpkins, scoop them into a big container, and puree with my immersion blender. “Речено сторено” as we say in Bulgaria 😀 (translation: “Said and done!”)
I washed the pumpkins, removed the seeds (and kept them), placed in roasting pans with 1/2 cup water at the bottom of the pan, and roasted until soft enough for a fork to go in. That’s all I used – no sweeteners or spices. Just pumpkin. Then I scooped the flesh with an ice-cream scoop and placed it in a boiling pot (the biggest pot I had on hand, but you can use anything). As the pot was quite full by the time the last pumpkin went in, I divided it in two. Make sure you save as much of the pumpkin “juice”. You’ll need it for blending. If you don’t have enough the puree is not as runny as you like, add some water. After I blended it, I left one cup puree aside for a whole wheat pumpkin bread I want to make later. And I also filled a bowl half-way for breakfast. Oh what a beautiful breakfast that was – fresh pumpkin puree, drizzle of honey (omit for Whole30), raisins, and sliced almonds. WOW!!! Amazing! And the roasted flavour of the pumpkin was just superb! MMMmmm mm mm! 😀
The rest of the puree I placed in ziplock bags and smaller tupperware containers for the freezer. I can’t wait to make that whole wheat pumpkin bread now… the house will smell so great. 🙂
In the mean time, I put the pumpkin seeds under running water to wash away any remaining pumpkin on them. Then I put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzled salt over them and turned them over a few times. Then I placed them in the oven at 200*F. They don’t need to roast. Only to dry slowly. I kept them in the oven a few hours and kept turning them with a spatula every once in a while. They don’t need to become brown or golden. They just need to dry slowly. If you notice the skin getting darker, reduce the heat and make sure they don’t burn. Ahhh yum!!! 😀
Sounds delicious! I’m going to have to try this with my pumpkins. Thanks so much for sharing!
You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by. The puree is really good. I like freezing just plain puree because you can use it for lots of different things. The same puree can go into a pumpkin bread and a soup. 😀
I too love preserving pumpkin puree. It’s really lovely as souffle and soup. My DH loves spicy chi roasted seeds and I roast them with a bit of cinnamon sugar. Thanks for sharing .
What a great idea! I have to try the cinnamon sugar seeds. Yum! 😀 Thank you!
Do you usually freeze your pumpkin puree?
Yes, and I do small batch sweet cubed pumpkin pickles and chutney. As canning the puree is not recommended by the USDA or NCHFP. Even with pressure canner. Great info here~ http://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/fall/pumpkins.html
THANK YOU!!! That’s exactly what I needed to hear 😀 I read that it’s not recommended due to the low acidity of the pumpkin so I didn’t do it. Now I now 100% that made the right choice. 🙂
Cubed pumpkin pickles and chutney… wow yum!!! Do you mind sharing your recipe? Thanks! 🙂
I freeze pumpkin puree after I’ve roasted it too. It has so much flavor and I love being able to pull it out in the cold weather.
Absolutely! 😀 yum!
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Cruising through your archives and found this delightful post! My DH planted 3 whole packages of pumpkins seeds one year and we had 50+ pumpkins, many quite large. That was when we learned how to can them, and we will never go back to the grocery store for canned pumpkin! He did the work since he went crazy with the seeds, and we had pumpkin for three years!!! It is so nice to open a jar and make waffles, muffins and pumpkin bread at will. I grew up with a pressure canner (in CO) so have a big one. If we were neighbors I’d borrow you mine in a heart beat!
What else have you used your pumpkin for?
Awww that’s fantastic!!! Growing your own pumpkins is the best way to go! My parents grew a huge one one year. My dad and my husband had to carry it in because it was too big for one person to pick up. 😀
I would have loved to borrow your canner 🙂 Thank you! ❤ I ended up freezing the pumpkin puree. My mom also grates it and freezes it that way. I know I always have it for muffins and pancakes. I've also used it in smoothies and bread. I try to freeze one cup per bag. It's easier to use.
My mom and I make pumpkin banitsa for Christmas eve dinner with grated pumpkin. It's a Bulgarian pastry made with filo. Here's the recipe:
It's really yummy. 😛