Summer is coming to a close and fall has arrived! The season has come for winter squash to mature in gardens and farmers’ fields. Sharon, from Simply Canning, shares her recipe and some tips to pressure can winter squash, such as butternut and pumpkin.
Simply Canning, is a great resource for information on canning safety, recipes, canning tips, and how to’s. The articles are easy to read and understand, The information is valid for newbie & veteran canners. If you haven’t checked it out, yet…you should!
Preserving Winter Squash & Pumpkin
Winter squash can be stored pretty well without canning if you have a cool dark area to keep it. However, canning squash provides something many people don’t think of… convenience! Truly, it is pretty handy to have a jar of cubed squash or pumpkin to pop open and puree for a pie or butternut squash soup or just roast it a bit with some butter or oil and serve as a side dish. I love convenience!
Pumpkin and other winter squashes are low acid vegetables, so it is important to follow preferred methods of preservation. Follow specific research-tested recipes and procedures to ensure squash is preserved safely. The instructions below are for Butternut Squash, but this same method can be applied to pumpkin or other winter squashes.
3 Important Tips
- Do not puree your squash before you put it in the jar. There are density issues with pureed squash. The only recommended method is to cut it up into cubes. Then puree when you open the canned jar of squash.
- This process is for butternut, pumpkin, or other winter squash only. There are different methods for preserving summer squash.
- You must use a pressure canner. You cannot water bath can winter squash. It will not reach a high enough temperature to ensure safe preserving.
- Winter Squash – About 1 pound will fill a pint and 2 1/4 pounds for a Quart.
- Canning Salt
- Pressure Canner
- Canning jars seals, and rings
- Canning Funnel lid lifter, and jar lifter.
- Slotted Spoon
- Large pot for cooking your squash. I use my 4th Burner Pot
The first step is to make sure you know how to operate your pressure canner. If you are not familiar with using a pressure canner check the manual that comes with the canner. You can also check this page for general instruction on pressure canning
and how to operate a pressure canner.
Operating your canner correctly is important! There are steps that you do not want to leave out. Things like how much water goes in the canner, how long to vent the canner, and how to cool down after processing.
Before you start have all supplies and ingredients on hand.
Wash your squash.
Peel and cube. This can be a tricky step. If you’ve got a good sturdy vegetable peeler you might get away with using that. However, mine was too flimsy so I resorted to peeling my butternut squash with a knife. I simply cut the squash in half, removed the, and then peeled each half. I then cut the half with the seeds in half again and removed the seeds. It was a bit tedious but it worked. The peeling, seeding and chopping method doesn’t truly matter. The goal is to have 1-inch cubes of winter squash.
Bring a pot of water to boil and boil the peeled cubed squash 2 minutes.
Add your squash to a jar and top off with boiling water. My preference is to use my 4th Burner Pot
with boiling water for the ease of pouring rather than using a ladle. You can also use a ladle and use the cooking liquid to top off your jars. Leave a 1-inch headspace.
Use a bubble tool (or a chopstick) to remove any air bubbles from the jar
, check that headspace again to make sure you have 1 inch.
Carefully wipe the rim clean and add the canning lid and ring
Place the jar in the canner to keep warm and fill the other jars.
When all your jars are filled, process according to pressure canning steps for your canner.
Pints 55 minutes
Quarts 90 minutes.
These instructions are tested proven methods adapted from the NCHFP. Follow them closely and you can then puree up your squash cubes when you open the jar to use it.
Adjustments for Pressure Canner
Altitude – Dial Gauge
0-1,000 ft – 11 pounds
1,001-2,000 ft – 11 pounds
2,001-4,000 ft – 12 pounds
4,001-6,000 ft – 13 pounds
6,001-8,000 ft – 14 pounds
Altitude – Weighted Gauge
0-1000 ft – 10 pounds
1000 – 8000 ft – 15 pounds
Freezing Winter Squash
If you’d prefer to freeze winter squash, it’s a great alternative to pressure canning squash. Instead of leaving the squash cubed, you can puree your cooked squash, and freeze the squash in it’s pureed state. It’s important to read this before freezing in jars.
- Package squash in approved freezer containers leaving ½-inch headspace (or filling to freeze line) in case it expands in cold storage.
- Seal container and freeze.
- Store containers in the freezer and use within 1 year.
When freezing squash, remember to freeze in quantities that make sense.
If you have a favorite recipe that you plan to use the squash for, measure the quantity of squash needed for that recipe. Freeze squash in the portion size needed for the recipe. Label the squash with the date and quantity in the container.
For Example: If you plan to use your pumpkin for a pie, and your pie recipe calls for 2 cups of mashed pumpkin. Plan to freeze your mashed pumpkin in 2 cup quantities. Your future pumpkin pie baking self will thank you.
Pumpkins & Squash Recipes
To learn more about preserving winter squash, Penn State Extension has an informative document about the proper techniques for canning, drying, and freezing squash and pumpkin.
We also have some more ideas on how to safely preserve pumpkins & squash. Plus, recipes and tips for getting the most out of your autumn harvest on our Pinterest board.