October 20, 2010

Canning Pumpkin

Pumpkin is probably one of the easiest things I have canned to date.  You will need a Pressure Canner!  Keep in mind that the National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend pumpkin puree for canning.  It is too thick and the heat from processing will not penetrate the center of the jar.  Instead we can cubed pumpkin, then when you want to make your pumpkin pie you'll just need to put the contents in your food processor or blender and puree it.

You'll Need:
Pie Pumpkins (I had 4 pumpkins and got 3 quarts)
Boiling Water
A Microwavable Dish with Lid
A Spoon
Jars, Rings, and Seals
Jar Funnel
Pressure Canner
Jar Lifter, and Magnetic Lid Lifter

First start by sanitizing your jars, you can put them in the dishwasher if you'd like, on a hot or sanitize wash.  Personally I prefer to put mine in the oven.  I place my jars on a cookie sheet and place in a 200° oven for 15 minutes.  I turn off the oven and  leave them in the warm oven until I'm ready to use them.

You'll need to place your seals in boiling water and keep them at a simmer until you're ready to use those too.

Wash each pumpkin, cut in half and scoop out all the seeds ( you can save the seeds if you'd like to roast them or to plant them in the spring!) Remove the stem.  Place pumpkin in a microwavable dish with a couple inches of water and cook for 10 minutes on high heat.  (You might have to cut one half of the pumpkin in half again to get it to fit in the dish) 

Very Carefully remove the hot pumpkin from dish and hold it in one hand (use a hot pad or oven mitt)  scoop out the center of the pumpkin in large pieces, discard the skin.  (Save the cooking water, or have boiling water on hand)  Cut the pumpkin into 1" -1 1/2" cubes. 

Place pumpkin squares in jars leaving 1" head space at the top of the jar.  Pour boiling water or cooking liquid over the pumpkin in the jars leaving 1" head space!  Place seals and rings on jar.  Tighten rings finger tight. 

Process in a PRESSURE Canner, following manufacturers instructions, at 10 lbs of pressure for 90 mintues.

Remove with Jar Lifter, cool jars 1" apart from each other for 24 hours.  Check seals and store.  If jars are not sealed they will need to be refrigerated and used within a couple weeks.

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