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Old 26.10.2020, 12:51
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Safely preserving pumpkin?

Thanks to dodgy-tummied Heffalump, I anticipate needing a steady supply of pumpkin puree going forward.

Right now this isn't a problem, fresh pumpkin can be found everwhere. But it will soon disappear from the grocery store shelves, and (as anyone craving a pumpkin pie out of season knows) commercially canned plain pumpkin can be scarcer 'n' hen's teeth 'round here.

So I though about canning my own, but a quick search shows that water bath canning is considered unsafe due to the low acid content. (Adding lemon apparently won't compensate, and besides, lemon would add to Heffalump's troubles rather than alleviate them.)

I dehydrated some pumpkin 'chewsticks'... H2 was not amused. So that's not a solution either.

So freezing might be an option. Question for food chemists: I give H2 pumpkin because the fiber content and it's ability to absorb/solidify make it a time honored home remedy* for diarrhea. Will freezing affect the fiber structure of the fruit? Should it be frozen fresh, or pureed then frozen? Does it matter?

Alternatively, canning via a pressure canner seems to have mixed reviews. Some sites say it's safe, others say not. Do any of you home canners have experience with pressure canning pumpkin?

Any other ideas on how to safely home-preserve pumpkin puree?

Many thanks.



*To preempt questions, yes we have seen the vet, so often that I practically live there. On the vet's suggestion we are trying to attack this from a food standpoint and leave the meds and other supplements for really bad bouts.
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Old 26.10.2020, 23:21
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

We've used baby food for our cat. You can find some that are plain pumpkin (with water as the only other ingredient). Much easier than homemade!
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Old 26.10.2020, 23:45
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

I would cook and puree, then freeze. Hope H2 will get better soon though.
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Old 26.10.2020, 23:48
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

Coop sells jarred butternut purée now. I don’t think freezing would effect the fiber structure, certainly should affect it less than high pressure/temperature canning might. Pressure canning is loads of work, personally I’d freeze as you know it will be safe.

Also I’d definitely freeze it after having cooked and puréed it. That way it’s simple to serve. Can even freeze in silicone ice cube trays or molds.
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Old 26.10.2020, 23:48
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

I just got a pressure canner and I’m looking into it. It looks like canning purée is not safe because it’s too thick. Therefore the heat doesn’t get into the pumpkin and won’t kill the botulism. Looks like pumpkin cubes the jar are ok. Would that help.
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Old 27.10.2020, 00:26
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

I do this every year: I cook it, no spices at all, freeze the pulp in portions (evacuating) then use it through the year. As it's pure purée, I can use it for soups or cakes or what ever. Seems to last for ever.
If I got that right you want it for your dog. You could freeze it in the perfect size portions.
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Old 27.10.2020, 00:29
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

My local Indian shop seem to have butternut all year.
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Old 27.10.2020, 00:50
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

I just clean pumpkin, cube it, and then shove it into vacuum bags and freeze that.

It's a bit soft when you defrost it, but otherwise the same... allows pumpkin pie year round!
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Old 27.10.2020, 06:18
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

My Pup eats pumpkin, butternut squash and sweet potato interchangeably. I imagine you‘ve tried sweet potato, though.
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Old 28.10.2020, 11:17
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

I cook it gently, unsalted and no water added, and then puree and vacuumise the puree to get stackable, flat bags for the freezer.
According to my 'Lebensmitteltechnologie' student, the fibre content remains the same as prepped freshly.
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Old 28.10.2020, 12:50
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

about canning:
usual canning procedure pasteurizes the food, at home you do it usually in water bath at 100°C, the food should reach 90°C for 10 minutes. In this way you kill most of bacteria, except the dreaded Clostridium botulinum, which:
- usually cannot compete with other bacteria (but you killed them by pasteurizing)
- cannot grow in acidic food (if I remember PH less than 3.3**), which you don't want
*btw garlic skin is often source of Clostridium botulinum.
**googled, it's 4.6 on Wikipedia, but it must be in food, not in a liquid in which the food is floating.


Home equipment is usually not enough to kill Clostridium botulinum, you need to reach temperatures of 121°C for 3 minutes. Again, this is temperature inside the container.


Toxins from Clostridium botulinum are only dangerous if you eat food directly, if you cook the food above 80°C (85° by wiki), the toxins are destroyed and food is safe.
So, as far as understand your use, you can cane pumpkin which is later used for baking.
***one more things, EU and USA have different rules regarding food safety, including preserving food. If you will search for info on internet you often find pieces of info from one AND from the other. They are both safe but you have to stick to one from beginning to end, as food safety is taken as a whole and it goes from farming to cooking.
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Old 28.10.2020, 12:54
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

I'll look for baby food, and for the Coop product mentioned. I hadn't thought to look for pumpkin in a jar, I was looking at cans. Maybe that's why I couldn't find anything at our Coop.

It sounds like freezing would be a solution, as fresh pumpkin is cheap and readily available now and I'd like to take advantage of that. How long would you say that frozen pumpkin puree safely lasts?

Another question: I don't have a vacuumizer thingy - any particular brands you recommend?

Cheap would be good.

(Especially as this might mean I need to purchase a cellar freezer, given I have so little freezer space in the kitchen...)

The things we do, eh?

Again, many thanks for all your help.

Last edited by meloncollie; 28.10.2020 at 13:08.
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Old 28.10.2020, 12:56
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

Strangely enough most canning sites mention that pumpkin should not be canned due to the density.


And as freezing portions is simple, why not be on the safe side?
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Old 28.10.2020, 13:05
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

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***one more things, EU and USA have different rules regarding food safety, including preserving food. If you will search for info on internet you often find pieces of info from one AND from the other. They are both safe but you have to stick to one from beginning to end, as food safety is taken as a whole and it goes from farming to cooking.
I tend to follow USDA safety guidelines for all my canning, which as far as I've read recommends against home canning pumpkin via water bath. I'm not an expert so I tend to err on the side of caution.

Afteralll, the reason for adding pumpkin to the dog food is to try to help a dodgy tummy. Poor Heffalump doesn't need a bout of food poisoning!
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Old 28.10.2020, 13:09
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

Following the home canning rules on canning (nchfp). As a rule it is said that raw frozen pumpkin should be used within 6 months. Pureed or blanched pumpkin will keep for up to 12 months in the freezer.


I have a vacume thingy bought at Landi, works well. I buy the bags there as well, are often on sale.
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Old 28.10.2020, 13:28
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

I safely preserve pumkin soup in a freezer, it is miraculously efficient. Small tupperware containers, airtight. I wonder if is because it is very spicy, too.
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Old 28.10.2020, 14:16
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

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Another question: I don't have a vacuumizer thingy - any particular brands you recommend?
Cheap would be good.
They have them sometimes in Aldi, same quality as other cheap ones, just, eeeeeh, even cheaper. (They have two different types).


btw. I find Aldi the best source for cheap sh...t, cheaper than infamous Aliexpress , and you also have guarantee. The only problem is, they never have what I am looking for when I am looking for it. Always two months earlier or half a year later.
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Old 28.10.2020, 16:30
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Re: Safely preserving pumpkin?

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It sounds like freezing would be a solution, as fresh pumpkin is cheap and readily available now and I'd like to take advantage of that. How long would you say that frozen pumpkin puree safely lasts?

Another question: I don't have a vacuumizer thingy - any particular brands you recommend?


I have eaten frozen pumpkin puree that I kept in the freezer for over 3 years

My vacuumizer is from ALDI, at I think around 40.- (bought it 3 years ago) the bags I get at LANDI.

Thing is, they need the special bags no, the old vacuumizer I had, was able to work with the cheap freezer bags on a roll that you get at Coop or Migros in their respective Budget lines.

At Landi you'll also get a good vacuumizer, see link.

https://www.landi.ch/shop/vakuumiere...ta-110-w_70800

And if you scroll down on the page,you see also the bags available, sizes and prices! Really recommendable, if you got further questions, you got my email addy

It takes abit of trial and error at the beginning, but you'll very soonget the hang of it!
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