My daughter really loves pumpkin pies and she has always wanted them for snack at school. We have this mini-garden in which I can harvest my own pumpkin during October. I want to use only these home-grown pumpkins and not the ones bought at store. Can I freeze pumpkin fruits?
Pumpkins naturally decay faster at room temperature. If you store raw pumpkins carefully in a cool place, the fruits may last up to two or three months.
The National Home Food Preservation confirms that freezing is the best way to store pumpkin and retain its quality. Once cut, fresh pumpkin will stay at its finest in the freezer. It may also be cooked and packed before freezing. Whether cooked or fresh, refrigerated pumpkin lasts up to 5 days, while best quality is kept up to 12 months when frozen.
Can You Freeze Pumpkins?
If frozen, pumpkin may last indefinitely but the freshness is preserved up to one year only.
When you are planning to preserve pumpkins, always think about the risk in trying to extend the life of the food you eat. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable which demands exceptional care when processed.
Always observe clean procedures when handling the fresh or preserved pumpkin. Allowing the pumpkin to stay in room temperature for more than two hours during preparation may cause harm further than you think.
You can thaw raw pumpkin chunks before using. Refrigerate the pumpkin flesh immediately after preparation or keep it refrigerated at all times.
Sweetened pumpkins, jams, butter, or gelled pumpkins must be refrigerated or put in the freezer in the same way as raw pumpkins.
Canning pumpkin butter, mashed or pureed pumpkin is also not advisable. When you freeze pumpkins in these forms, always use high-quality freezer bags or containers.
How to Freeze Pumpkins
You can put preserve the quality of pumpkins whether cooked or raw. Here are the following guidelines when freezing or refrigerating pumpkins:
- Choose a dense, fully ripened pumpkin with no blemishes or soft spots, and not soggy or dry
- Peel, cut it clean and scoop the seeds out. Slice the flesh into 1-inch cubes.
- When freezing fresh pumpkin cubes, loosely fill in the freezer bags with the cubes in a single layer. The packing should not be too tight to prevent the cubes from sticking together.
- You can also wrap the raw pumpkin cubes with top quality foil or plastic wrap before refrigerating.
- You can cook the cubes by boiling, roasting or steaming.
- Allow to cool before refrigerating or freezing. The rule of thumb is to refrigerate pumpkin within two hours of cooking.
- Do not place the cooked pumpkin in freezer bags. Before putting it in the freezer, choose bottles with tight lids or food grade airproof containers.
- Containers should not be filled up completely. To allow food expansion, leave a room of about one-half inch headspace.
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