Canning pumpkin is a great way to preserve the harvest. If you have a root cellar, squash will store for up to six months. But for those without a root cellar, canning is a good way to have shelf stable pumpkin all year long. Butternut squash can be preserved in the same manner. I love butternut squash. Roast and eat with butter. Chop, boil, drain, eat with butter. Mash and eat with butter. Yum. (I may kinda have a thing for butter too…)
Winter squash (to include pumpkin and butternut squash) is one of those low-acidity foods that needs to be pressure canned. According to the Ball Canning website, pressure canning foods brings the food temp to 240 degrees, which is needed to prevent bacteria from growing (botulism).
Water bath canning only brings the temps to 212, which is fine for high acid foods. Canning butternut squash is a fairly easy recipe, although the prep takes a while. Make sure you are always using the correct method for all your canning projects.
Canning pumpkin or other winter squash must be done by cutting the squash into cubes. Canning pumpkin puree at home is not a safe method of canning pumpkin. With pureed and mashed food there is no way of knowing if the correct heat was achieved in the center.
You can, however, puree the pumpkin after you’ve canned and drained it. Simply start on Step 5 of making pumpkin puree! Once done with the puree, you can make these delicious soft pumpkin cookies or pumpkin pie!
Canning Pumpkin and Other Squash
Carefully cut the pumpkin or squash in half. Remove the seeds and peel the squash – a vegetable peeler works well for this. Cut the pumpkin into one inch cubes and place in large stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes – just long enough to get the squash warm, but not too soft. Drain and discard the liquid. (I save mine to water my indoor plants once it’s cool– fertilizer!)
The seeds make great treats for chickens or roast the pumpkin seeds for a tasty treat for yourself.
Place the squash in sterilized canning jars, leaving one inch headspace. Pour fresh boiling water (or the hot cooking water) over the squash, maintaining the one inch headspace. Remove bubbles and adjust water level as necessary.
Wipe the jar rims clean, center lids, and screw on bands to fingertip tight.
Place jars in the pressure canner and lock the lid in place. Leaving the vent open, turn on medium-high heat. Once there is a steady steam venting, allow to vent for 10 minutes.
Close vent and bring to 10 lbs. pressure. Be sure to adjust the pressure for your altitude. (Once 10 lbs is achieved, don’t forget to turn down the heat to maintain 10 lbs.) Process for 55 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quarts.
Remove canner from heat and allow canner to return to zero pressure naturally. Wait another ten minutes and then open the lid. Allow the jars to cool for an additional 10 minutes and then remove from the canner. Place the jars on a towel to avoid breakage caused by sudden temperature changes.
Do not disturb the jars for 12 to 24 hours – allowing them to cool and seal. If you have any that didn’t seal after 24 hours, refrigerate and enjoy for dinner soon (with butter…).
And now you have a reason to use all those pumpkin spice recipes…
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- Pumpkin, butternut squash, or other winter squash variety
- Boiling water
- Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and peel. Dice into one inch cubes.
- In stockpot, cover the squash with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Drain and discard liquid.
- Place squash in sterilized canning jars leaving one inch headspace.
- Pour fresh boiling water (or hot cooking water) over squash, maintaining one inch headspace. Remove bubbles and add water as needed.
- Wipe jar rims clean, center the canning lids, and screw bands to fingertip tight.
- Place jars in the pressure canner and lock the lid in place. Leaving the vent open, turn on medium-high heat. Once there is a steady steam venting, allow to vent for 10 minutes.
- Close vent and bring to 10 lbs. pressure, adjusting for altitude. Process for 55 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quarts.
- Remove canner from heat and allow canner to return to zero pressure naturally. Wait another ten minutes and then open the lid. Allow the jars to cool for an additional 10 minutes and then remove from the canner.
- Allow jars to cool and set for 24 hours.
To make pumpkin puree with home canned pumpkin, simply open the can, drain the liquid, and mash the pumpkin. A pint of canned pumpkin will give you 2-3 cups of pumpkin puree once mashed.
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More Home Canned Goodness
Pressure canning isn’t just for vegetables, you can also use it to make meals in jars! Before you put the pressure canner away, consider making some ham and bean soup.