In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve pumpkins” and discuss the different methods of preserving pumpkins.
How to preserve pumpkins
Pumpkins can be preserved by :
- Properly storing raw uncarved pumpkins at room temperature.
- Refrigerating, freezing, canning and dehydrating cut, blanched pumpkins.
How to preserve raw uncarved pumpkins
Raw uncarved pumpkins preserve well at room temperature. A properly stored raw, uncarved pumpkin can last for about 3 to 4 months. The following storage conditions preserve whole pumpkins for a longer time.
- Raw, whole pumpkins must not be refrigerated or frozen. Raw pumpkins must be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. Moisture will cause rapid spoilage of pumpkins.
- Raw pumpkins must not be kept directly on the floor. Always keep them on a dry mat or a clean crate. Placing them directly on the floor may attract insects.
- Place the pumpkins upside down so that the stalk is facing the floor.
How to clean and cut pumpkins for preservation
Pumpkins are large vegetables and cleaning a whole pumpkin takes a bit of time and effort.
To clean and cut pumpkins :
- Wash a pumpkin with water and blot dry with a paper towel.
- Cut the pumpkin in half.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds and fibres. Pumpkin seeds are edible so save them for later use.
- Peel the skin if needed and slice the pumpkin into desired thickness,
How to preserve pumpkins by refrigerating
Cut pumpkins must always be refrigerated until they are used in cooking.
To refrigerate cut pumpkins:
- Wrap the pumpkin piece with cling film.
- Place it in the fridge and use it within 2 weeks.
How to preserve pumpkins by freezing
Pumpkin can be frozen either as cubes or puree. It is recommended to blanch the pumpkins before freezing, This would inactivate enzymes, prevent freezer burn and retain the flavour and texture for a longer time.
Freezing preserves pumpkins for 6 to 12 months. Frozen pumpkins can be thawed by placing them in the fridge overnight or by defrosting in water at room temperature.
Frozen pumpkins can be used in both cooking and baking.
To freeze pumpkin cubes:
- Take pumpkin slices and trim off the rind.
- Remove any remaining seeds and strings from the inner part.
- Dice the pumpkin into cubes of desired thickness.1-inch cubes are perfect for freezing.
- Add the pumpkin cubes into boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the pumpkin cubes into ice water for 2 minutes.
- Strain the pumpkin cubes using a colander to remove the excess water.
- Spread out the pumpkin cubes on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- Freeze for a few hours.
- After the pumpkin cubes have frozen, transfer them into a ziplock bag or an airtight container.
- Label and return to the freezer.
To freeze pumpkin puree:
- Cut a pumpkin into quarters and remove the seeds and strings.
- Place the pumpkin quarters in a baking tray with 1 inch of water. Make sure that the cut side is facing upwards.
- Bake for 1 hour at 300 F until the pumpkin quarters become soft.
- Remove the flesh of the pumpkin quarters and make a puree using a food processor. Add a bit of water to the puree if needed.
- Transfer the puree into a ziplock bag, an airtight container or ice cube trays.
- Label and place it in the freezer.
How to preserve pumpkins by canning
Pumpkin cubes can be canned at home by using a pressure canner. It is not recommended to use a water bath for canning pumpkins as it will not destroy all the harmful microbes.
The only ingredients required to can pumpkins are pumpkin cubes and water. Salt and spices may also be added to season the pumpkins.
Canned pumpkins have a shelf-life of 1 year at room temperature. Just make sure to keep the jars in a cool, dark place.
The only downside to canning pumpkins is that you need to have a pressure canner and follow the exact pumpkin canning instructions.
How to preserve pumpkins by dehydrating
Pumpkins can be dehydrated by sun-drying, using an oven or using a food dehydrator. Using a food dehydrator is the most efficient and preferred method to dehydrate pumpkins.
Dehydrated pumpkin will preserve well for about 1 year.
Pumpkin slices must be blanched before dehydration for best results.
To dehydrate pumpkins in a food dehydrator:
- Spread out the blanched pumpkin slices on a dehydrator tray.
- Sprinkle with salt or spices if needed.
- Dehydrate at 150°F-165°F, for 10-12 hours.
- The pumpkin slices would be crispy once they are completely dehydrated.
- Store the dehydrated pumpkins in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve pumpkins” and discussed the different methods used to preserve pumpkins.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.