How to Can Pumpkin

As summer winds down, my thoughts are constantly speeding ahead to fall. It’s no secret that September and October are my favorite months. Cooler mornings, warm afternoons and a changing of the guard when it comes to evening meals.

Soups. Stews. And roasts oh my!

However, as the pumpkins begin to ripen in the field, it’s pie that my thoughts turn to this morning.

This was the first year we planted Jarrahdale pumpkins. Their mottled green-blue coloring is unique in an otherwise sea of orange. Its bright orange flesh just screams to be mashed up and turned into pie.

But what if I want pie later, after the weather turns and pumpkins are no longer on the vine? And what if I don’t want to buy pumpkin puree in a can at the store?

Well then I suppose it’s time to can some pumpkin! Here’s how to do it…

Canning Pumpkin is Easy

One medium sized Jarrahdale gave us 9 quart sized jars of canned pumpkin. That’s not too shabby. And it didn’t take very long to process.

But here’s the thing about canning pumpkin. Pumpkin is super low on acid so you HAVE to pressure can it. That means no water bathing! You also shouldn’t can pumpkin puree. So we just can our pumpkin in chunks and when we’re ready to use we’ll turn it into puree.

So promise me you won’t try to water bath your pumpkin. Mkay?

Great! Let’s get to what you’re really hear for.

Step One – Wash and dry your pumpkin. Then cut out the stem like you would a jack o’ lantern. Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Jarrahdale isn’t very stringy like other varieties, so that was a plus. Save the seeds to roast later on!

Step Two – Slice the pumpkin in quarters, then remove the rind. Some pumpkin varieties have thinner rind, so you can use a potato peeler. I used a knife to remove the Jarrahdale rind because its a bit little thicker.

Step Three – Once the rind is removed, cut your pumpkin into chunks about 1 inch in size and place in a large bowl.

Step Four – When everything is all cut up, move the pumpkin chunks to a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on the stove, then let the water boil for 2 minutes. Don’t go longer than 2 minutes. You don’t want to cook the pumpkin, just soften it a bit.

Step Five – While the pumpkin is on the stove, prepare your canning jars. We used quart sized jars but you can use pint sized if that works better for you. Rinse the jars and get your lids ready.

Step Six – After boiling for 2 minutes, remove the pumpkin from the burner. Using a ladle, fill the jars with your pumpkin chunks, then top with water left over in the stock pot. Leave about an inch of head space in each jar. Wipe your rims with a paper towel, then put on your lids and rings and hand tighten.

Step Seven – It’s time to can your pumpkin! Process quart jars for 90 minutes at 11psi (if your canner has a dial gauge) or 15psi (if your canner has a weighted gauge). If you are using pint sized jars you’ll process for 55 minutes.

Having pumpkin on the shelf, ready to go when we need it, is a good feeling. It may be “easier” to buy puree at the store, but easier isn’t always better. I love being able to grow fresh, healthy food in the garden and then to stock our shelves for the winter with our bounty. Just like grandma did it!

Be well.

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