When you go out to look for pumpkins, consider ones for cooking as well as making Jack-o-lanterns. You can find them at the same pumpkin patch if you know what you are looking for.
1. Choose your pumpkins for canning – A pumpkin that is made for pies and other desserts will be smaller than a carving pumpkin. Look for pumpkins that are small, compact and bright in color. Check to be sure there are no bruises or blemishes on your pumpkin and that it has a long stem.
2. Prepare pumpkin for canning – Unlike canning other fruits, the USDA does not recommend pureeing your pumpkin before you can it. Instead can your pumpkin in cubes. When you are ready to use it, you can mash it to get it ready for a pie or other dessert. Begin by washing your pumpkin. Don’t use soap, though. Split it in half and remove all seeds and strings. Mature pumpkin flesh should have as few strings as possible. Next, cube the pumpkin.
3. Cook your pumpkin – Place the pumpkin cubes in a Dutch oven with several quarts of water and bring to a boil. Maintain the boil for a couple of minutes.
4. Prepare your canning jars – While your pumpkin is boiling, make sure your jars are ready. You can boil them along with the rings and the lids or take them through a hot wash in the dishwasher. Allow them to dry on a paper towel on the counter.
5. Fill you jars – When the pumpkin is ready, use a slotted spoon to scoop the cubes into the prepared canning jars. Leave an inch of space at the top of the jar. Add the hot cooking liquid to fill the empty spaces. Add the lids and the rings.
6. The process – Place your jars in the pressure canner. Process them according to manufacturer’s instructions. It may take about an hour for the process to complete for pints and an hour and a half for quart jars. Once you are done, remove the jars with tongs and allow cooling for at least 24 hours on the counter. Once completely cooked, tighten the rings on the jars. Test the lids to be sure that they don’t pop out when pressed. This ensures a good seal. Now you can remove the rings are you want to use them again.
Canning is a way to preserve seasonal fruits and vegetables to be used all year round to create your favorite dishes. Want a pumpkin pie in winter? Can it now.