I love pumpkins! We were very fortunate to have some friends give us several really nice Cushaw pumpkin seedlings a few years ago. We planted them in the garden and they thrived.
We ended up with five huge Cushaws that year. They were beautiful! We’ve been saving the seeds and growing them ever since .
How to Make and Freeze Pumpkin Puree in Mason Jars
Cushaws don’t look like ordinary pumpkins, they are long and have green stripes. They are shaped more like a gourd.
We love our pumpkin pie around here so we wanted to have plenty of puree ready to go whenever the hankering hits us!
We also make pumpkin cupcakes and bread from time to time. I’ve been eyeballing a few other yummy looking recipes too.
While I keep mentioning Cushaw, you can process any type of cooking pumpkin this way. We just happen to have a favorite!
We had planned to pressure can our puree in quart mason jars just as we have done in the past. I did some reading online and I found out that canning pureed pumpkin is not recommended any longer.
Yikes! Glad I am a researcher. Know better, do better.
It is safe to pressure can pumpkin cubes but not pumpkin puree. Finding this information out, we had to change plans and decided we would freeze our puree instead.
Prepare The Pumpkin
The first thing we did was wash the outsides of the pumpkins to be sure they were really clean and dirt free before we cut into them.
These babies are pretty tough and big so I let Derek do the knife work. He cut the pumpkins in half length wise then scooped the seeds out with a ladle. An ice cream scoop would also work well to remove the seeds.
Be sure to save those seeds so that you can plant more next year and roast some for a tasty snack.
Now we needed to get the pumpkin nice and soft for puréeing. There are several methods that can be used to accomplish this and we settled on baking them.
We have boiled them in the past but thought baking them would work better for us and it did. We laid the pumpkin halves cut side down on large cookie sheets and baked them at 350° for about an hour and twenty minutes.
Once the pumpkins were done baking we scraped the meat out into a large bowl. Next, we pureed the meat in blender. We used a canning funnel and poured the puree into quart size mason jars.
Now, before you totally freak out about freezing in non-freezable jars let me explain.
We avoid using plastic storage containers and wanted to give freezing jars a try. I have been freezing my chicken broth ever since reading that it would work and haven’t had any jars break.
Just be sure to leave enough headspace (at least an inch) to allow the liquid to expand as it freezes. I let my full jars cool in the fridge overnight before freezing as well.
This is the key to avoiding breakage….. leave plenty of head space and cool completely before freezing your pumpkin puree.
It’s that simple folks. Just like that, we had eleven quarts of pumpkin puree ready to freeze. I emphasize on the word had, we had to test the puree out so then we had ten quarts to freeze and two pies……. well, one whole pie and what’s left of the second.
Q: Will my jars break?
A: While I cannot guarantee that your jars will not break, I have not had any breakage. The key is cooling your puree completely before freezing along with leaving an inch or more of head space in the jar.
Q: How long does pumpkin puree last in the freezer?
A: Your frozen puree should stay good for use for at least one year.
Q: Can I just pressure can my pumpkin puree instead?
A: I would not recommend canning puree as it is no longer considered safe to do so. You can however, can cubed pumpkin instead.
Q: How do I get the pumpkin puree out of the jar when I want to cook with it?
A: You will need to plan ahead and allow the pumpkin to thaw out first. You can do so by placing the jar in the fridge for 24-48 hours or by setting out on the counter for several hours.
This is a great idea – thanks for the okay to freeze the puree in mason jars. I’ve always done it in ziplock bags because I was worried about the breakage.
It’s good to know about the cushaws. I’ve never grown them before. Are they resistant to the squash bug?
Just be sure to leave plenty of head space for it to expand as it freezes. 🙂
They are very resistant to pests, it is great. Just plant them and let them go. 🙂
Rhonda, FL says
I have just learned to can some things late this summer. It was a pricey investment to get started and I was very fearful of pressure canners as I have heard horror stories over them exploding. Well, I bought a dvd on canning and it was such an encouragement that I jumped in. I made one mistake. Not buying enough mason jars. I have canned pinto beans, lima beans, apple sauce, apple butter, carrots and tried apple jelly. You have just inspired me to try pumpkin! 🙂
I love canning! 🙂 let me know how the pumpkin goes.
Is it OK to hot water bath can pumpkin puree? My freezer is full!
The USDA does not recommend water bath or pressure canning pumpkin puree. You can cut the pumpkin into 1 inch cubes and pressure can them. They are not acidic enough to water bath. Hope this helps! 🙂
Joy M says
I’m glad to learn about the cushaw pumpkins. I’ll keep an eye out for tham!
Having frozen in jars before, and having found cracked jars in my freezer, may I suggest slipping the jars into the a shank of an old socks to help protect them from bumps in the freezer. This also has been suggested for full canning jars stored on shelves in areas prone to earth quakes etc.
For Rhonda – Puree is not recommended for canning because of the density and heat not reaching the center of the food properly – even in a pressure canner. All canning information I’ve ever seen recommends canning cubes and pureeing later. I admit to feeling relieved to see this article freezing the product.
Jar breakage during freezing is usually due to using regular mouth canning jars. It is recommended to use the wide mouth canning jars for freezing as the glass is tempered at a higher temperature and is stronger……….according to http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/containers.html
So I read this post because I was wondering if you were going to can your puree. Glad to see that you froze it 🙂 I have planted Cushaw for other people before, but not for ourselves. I was prompted to do some more research on it and learned a few more fun fact! Thanks
Janet Pesaturo says
Does this type of pumpkin not last long when not processed at all, but just kept in a cool place? We keep our winter squash on a shelf in the basement, and they usually last for months.
They will keep through the winter. We just don’t have a good spot for them so I go ahead and purée and freeze all at once. 🙂