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Canning Pumpkin {How to Can Pumpkin}

This step by step tutorial will teach you about Canning Pumpkin safely in a pressure cooker. Canned pumpkin cubes give you so many recipe options – pumpkin puree, pie filling, or even pumpkin butter. Learn how to can pumpkin to preserve the fall harvest. You can also learn how to freeze pumpkin if you don’t have canning equipment.

Jars of canned pumpkin with two mini pumpkins and a green striped cloth

Today we are talking about how to safely can cubes of pumpkin in a pressure canner. And before you ask, no you cannot can pumpkin in a water bath canner.

“But, Sarah, my grandma did it for 50 years and everyone was fine”. Great, I’m so happy that everything turned out ok. My dad used to ride in the back window of my grandpa’s car.

Just because something was done for years, doesn’t make it safe.

Can You can Pumpkin In a Water Bath?

No!

The density of pumpkin puree is too thick for the home canner to safely heat to the core and kill botulism spores. Yikes, just don’t go messing around with that.

Nor are you able to safely can pumpkin puree in a water bath or pressure canner. I’m sorry, these things are just not safe for the home canner. 

If you’re not down with canning pumpkin cubes or don’t have a pressure canner, you can totally freeze pumpkin puree if you’d like. Make sure you use wide-mouth jars and don’t fill them too full. You can also freeze in these reusable silicone ziploc-style bags.

If you already have your pressure canner out, you might consider canning carrots, which is another recipe that cannot be preserved in a water bath canner.

How Do I Use Home Canned Pumpkin?

Any way you’d like! I use it in muffins, pumpkin bread, and Grandma Dorothy’s Pumpkin Cookie Recipe. In a pinch, you could use it in place of butternut squash in Spicy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup.

For another savory option, try Baked Pumpkin Risotto.

If you would like to puree it for pumpkin butter, pie, or other baked goods, drain the liquid and puree. For ease, I just stick my immersion blender directly into the canning jar.

My preference is to can in pint-sized jars. The processing time is less and once drained, a pint jar is about equivalent to a 15 oz can you’d buy in the store.

Canning Pumpkin Supplies

Check out this in-depth post for a complete list of canning supplies.

You’ll need:

How to Can Pumpkin

*A detailed and printable recipe card is available at the bottom of this post.

Cut your pumpkin in half, slightly on one side of the stem. Remove the stem from the section that has it.

Remove the innards using a spoon. It’s ok to not get all the strings out of it; we’ll deal with it later. Pro tip: save the pumpkin seeds for making White Cheddar Salted Pumpkin Seeds!

sliced pumpkins getting ready for canning pumpkin

Lay one half of the pumpkin, cavity side down, and slice it like you’re slicing a melon. Repeat with the other half. Cutting it this way with the goo side facing down prevents the pumpkin from sliding around, and keeps your fingers intact.

Place the slices onto a plate and microwave for 1 minute. This will soften the pumpkin to make the next step easier.

Using a paring knife, take one of the slices, and cut the rind off of the chunk, and then the icky side as well. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Repeat with the rest of the pumpkin.

Three process steps for canning pumpkin

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pumpkin in batches for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pumpkin and put into warm and clean canning jars.

Ladle boiling water over the pumpkin chunks leaving 1 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. Remove the bubbles from the jar (I use a chopstick).

Photos showing canning pumpkin in a pressure cooker

You’ll see in the third photo that removing air bubbles reduced the water in the jar. I had to add some later.

Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food.

Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that Hulk Hogan couldn’t budge it).

Jars reading for canning pumpkin in a pressure cooker

Place the jars in the canner. Lock the lid. Soon, steam will start coming through the vent pipe (I call it the steam chimney). Allow the steam to pass through for about 10 minutes.

Then put the pressure regulator (I call it the chimney cap) on top. Pretty soon, the air vent will pop up. That is a sign that you’re starting to build pressure inside the canner.

Pumpkin needs to be pressure canned at 11 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes (pints) and 90 minutes (quarts).

pressure canner prep steps for canning tomato soup

See chart below for any changes to processing times.

Processing times for canning pumpkin

When the dial gauge reaches 11 pounds of pressure, reduce the burner temp to medium, and start your timer. The pressure must stay at 11 or (a little bit) above for the duration of the cooking time. You’ll likely need to adjust the temp on the burner a few times depending on your stove.

When the time is up, remove the canner from the burner and allow it to sit until you hear a distinctive “click” of the air vent dropping. Remove the pressure regulator and carefully remove the lid (Pro tip: I always use oven mitts when I take the lid off because the steam is crazy hot).

Let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

Two jars of canned pumpkin with mini pumpkins

Canning Pumpkin Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • I may have mentioned this a few times, but you must have a pressure canner to safely can these cubes of pumpkin.
  • You may add spices or salt if you’d like, but doing so limits your choices on how to use it after it has been canned.
  • However, commercially canned pumpkin puree is perfectly safe to use.

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Jars of canned pumpkin with two mini pumpkins and a green striped cloth
Print
5 from 5 votes
Canning Pumpkin {How to Can Pumpkin}
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
 

This step by step tutorial will teach you safely how to can pumpkin in a pressure cooker. Canned pumpkin gives you so many recipe options such as pie filling.

Course: Canning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning pumpkin, how to can pumpkin
Servings: 3 pints
Calories: 50 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 small pie pumpkin
  • 10 cups water
Instructions
  1. Cut your pumpkin in half, slightly on one side of the stem. Remove the stem from the section that has it.

  2. Remove the innards using a spoon. It's ok to not get all the strings out of it; we'll deal with it later.

  3. Lay one half of the pumpkin, cavity side down, and slice it like you're slicing a melon. Repeat with the other half. Cutting it this way with the goo side facing down prevents the pumpkin from sliding around, and keeps your fingers intact.

  4. Place the slices onto a plate and microwave for 1 minute. This will soften the pumpkin to make the next step easier.

  5. Take one of the slices, and cut the rind off of the chunk, and then the icky side as well. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Repeat with the rest of the pumpkin.

  6. Boil a pot of water and add the pumpkin in batches for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pumpkin and put into warm and clean canning jars.

  7. Ladle boiling water over the pumpkin chunks leaving 1 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. Remove the bubbles from the jar (I use a chopstick).

  8. Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food.

  9. Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight.

  10. Place the jars in the canner. Lock the lid. Soon, steam will start coming through the vent pipe . Allow the steam to pass through for about 10 minutes.

  11. Put the pressure regulator on top. Pretty soon, the air vent will pop up. That is a sign that you’re starting to build pressure inside the canner.

  12. Pumpkin needs to be pressure canned at 11 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes (pints) and 90 minutes (quarts).

  13. When the dial gauge reaches 11 pounds of pressure, reduce the burner temp to medium, and start your timer. The pressure must stay at 11 or (a little bit) above for the duration of the cook time. You’ll likely need to adjust the temp on the burner a few times depending on your stove.

  14. When the time is up, remove the canner from the burner and allow it to sit until you hear a distinctive “click” of the air vent dropping.

  15. Remove the pressure regulator and carefully remove the lid (Pro tip: I always use oven mitts when I take the lid off because the steam is crazy hot).

  16. Let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

  17. After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

Recipe Notes

Store in a cool dark place for up to 12 months.

 

Save the seeds for making roasted pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition Facts
Canning Pumpkin {How to Can Pumpkin}
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 50 Calories from Fat 5
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.5g1%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 2mg0%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 12500IU250%
Vitamin C 3.3mg4%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This recipe was originally published in October 2012. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback. New photos have been added and the recipe has been made printable. For reference, this is one of the photos from the original post:

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15 comments on “Canning Pumpkin {How to Can Pumpkin}”

  1. We ended up with five pumpkin from the family garden this past week. We don’t have a pressure cooker or canner. Instead we went with the freezer method. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions and photos!

  2. I freeze our pumpkin mash in 1 cup lumps on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. The frozen lumps get tossed in a bag and off to the big freezer. By pre measuring them it is easy to take out the correct amount for the recipe. I used to do it in 2 cups measures because that was what I need for a pie but when I started making breads and cookies I needed different quantities.

  3. Just listened to you on the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Good stuff. You site is awesome!

  4. That’s great news! Thanks! I have about 17 squash from my CSA that I don’t know what do to with because my freezer is already full!

  5. Hello –
    I’ve been following this blog for some time. I am fairly new to canning and have only canned with a water bath. I have been considering purchasing a pressure canner for a bit. I have been reading on what can be canned and what cannot be canned, even with a pressure cooker. According to what I’ve read, you aren’t supposed to can pumpkin or squash. I’m now confused. From this post, it sound like you are able to can pumpkin squash as long as it is prepared as above and not puréed, correct?

    • Hi Rebecca,

      According to the Univ of Georgia extension (kind of the grand poobahs in canning) and the book that came with my pressure canner both say you CAN can squash, but only in chunks and only with a pressure canner.

  6. I want to plant pumpkins!! In Vegas they flower and then die 🙁

  7. It wasn’t thaaat funny of a story 😉

  8. Oh my. I cut into one pumpkin and I’m sweating. Can’t imagine doing all of this. I give you some serious credit.

  9. lucky you to get so many pumpkins from three plants…my pumpkins did not fair so well and i only got two..but they got canned right along with and same as the blue hubbard squashes and the butternut squashes and the turbin squashes…good eating and lots of fiber.

  10. What a GREAT idea! I’ve also got an idea for one of those pumpkins……every year, on Halloween, our family cleans one out and cooks dinner in it; ground meat, rice, mushroom soup, corn, and bake. Before serving, scrape the inside pumpkin off and mix all together…….FREAKIN YUMMY!