Pumpkin is very good for us. I love making pumpkin soup, pumpkin pies, homemade pumpkin puree, and using pumpkin in herbal tea.
But How to Store Pumpkin?
How to freeze pumpkin puree (if you have already made it)? Should we blanch it? Should we preserve pumpkin along with pumpkin seeds? What’s the best way to freeze pumpkin? Why do we need to blanch it, anyway? How long can pumpkins be stored after blanching? Is there any special recipe?
If you ever asked yourself any of these questions, read on!
This is what I’ll explain in this article below now because this topic interests me as well now that fall comes closer (autumn) and winter with pumpkins included right after.
What Is Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a fruit. As with all fruits, it ripens and eventually goes bad. This happens even faster with pumpkins because of their high water content. Once it’s picked, you have about two weeks to use it before it starts to rot.
The first thing is: You don’t need to store pumpkin seeds. That’s why so many people choose to freeze pumpkins. It’s the best way to preserve pumpkin.
Think of it this way, if you have a pumpkin that’s starting to go bad, just cut off the rotten part and freeze the rest! You can do this with fresh pumpkins any time after Halloween.
Before preserving pumpkins.
Why Freeze Pumpkin?
Freezing your pumpkins can help you preserve them longer. It also allows you to use them at any time of the year. Just think, your favorite cubes all year round! Who wouldn’t want that?
You also want to freeze them because it lets you season them. Once you thaw out your pumpkin, mix it with broth and spices, and voila! You have a delicious soup ready for you or your family.
What’s Special about Pumpkins?
Pumpkin is very versatile in its uses and taste (sweet or savory). You can make so many dishes with pumpkins, such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, and more.
The best part is that you can just take out the amount of pumpkin you need without having to defrost the whole thing. This is especially helpful if you only need a small amount for pumpkin recipes.
As I said, pumpkins are high in water content. This is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because it means that they are full of nutrients and vitamins, but it’s bad because it means that the water also goes bad faster. If you’re planning to preserve your pumpkins for long, I recommend freezing them.
What Will You Need to Freeze Pumpkin?
So, the following are the lists of things you would need to freeze them and why:
- An average-sized pumpkin without pumpkin flesh (2-3 pounds)
- A sharp knife to cut it into pieces
- Freezer bags or containers for the pumpkin
- Parchment paper for lining the bags or containers
- Ice cube trays
- A microwave-safe bowl, pot, or pan to heat your pumpkin
- Ice trays/solution/water if you want to freeze the pumpkin into cubes for smoothies etc.
- Zip-top baggies (optional): If you don’t have enough freezer bags or containers
- You can use zip-top baggies for pumpkin. Just make sure that it’s good quality
You can use ice cube bags too, but that’s usually more of a hassle than it’s worth. Do this only if you must!
How to Freeze Fresh Pumpkin?
The first step is to wash the pumpkin and remove the pumpkin flesh. Cut off the stem and the blossom end with a sharp knife. Cut it into manageable pieces that suit your needs. Then, cut out the seeds and any pulp. Save them for roasting later and wrap them in aluminum foil.
Can We Freeze Pumpkins into Slices?
Yes, you can freeze pumpkins into slices after removing pumpkin flesh. But I don’t recommend it because the pumpkin might not hold its shape when you thaw it. It’s better to cut it into pumpkin cubes, halves, or even thick slices.
Put the pumpkin on a large baking sheet that you lined with parchment paper. Make sure the pumpkin is in a single layer and freeze for about two hours or until solid. Then, take them out and put them in freezer bags once solid.
After that, you can take out the pumpkin as needed. You don’t need to defrost it first. Just take it out of the freezer and use it.
Should I Blanch Pumpkin Before I Freeze Them?
I recommend blanching it before you put it in the freezer. This makes sure that delicate nutrients are preserved, and the flesh remains firm after thawing. Blanching also makes portioning easier since cooked pumpkin is so soft.
The process of blanching involves cooking vegetables briefly to stop enzymes from degrading their color or flavor. It also inactivates microorganisms that can cause foodborne illness.
To blanch your pumpkin, first, cut it into small pieces. Then, place the pumpkin in a large pot of boiling water for about two minutes. Drain the pumpkin, and then plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking process. Finally, drain the pumpkin again and spread the pieces on a baking sheet to freeze.
How Can I Freeze Fresh Pumpkin?
I like to freeze my pumpkins in small portions (by type and use), so it’s ready whenever I need them. Here are some tips for freezing fresh pumpkins:
But wait, what if you want to make your own homemade pumpkin puree or soup with pumpkin?
Then you’ll need to remove the pumpkins seeds and pulp. You can do this by cutting your pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds with a large spoon, and then peeling off the skin.
How to Defrost It?
There are a few ways to defrost frozen pumpkins:
· Place the frozen pumpkin pieces in a bowl and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
· Put the frozen pumpkin in a saucepan and cook over low heat until it’s soft.
· Use the microwave to defrost the pumpkin. Start by cooking it on high for one minute. Then, let the pumpkin stand for about three minutes until it’s defrosted.
Remember that you don’t need to defrost the pumpkin before using it in recipes. You can just use it straight from the freezer.
Does Feezing Pumpkin Affect The Taste?
Good question! I’ve found that freezing the pumpkin doesn’t affect the taste. However, the texture might be a little different after it’s been frozen. It might be a little more watery than fresh pumpkin. But this isn’t always the case, so you might want to experiment a little and see what you think.
I would say that freezing pumpkin is a great way to store it for long periods of time without flesh. The nutrients and vitamins are preserved, and you can use them in recipes whenever you need them. Just make sure to blanch it first!
Another thing is that pumpkin is a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. So it’s a good idea to add it to your diet. And what better way to do that than by freezing it?
Now that you know how to freeze fresh pumpkins, go ahead and stock up for the winter!
Additional Tips for Freezing Pumpkins:
* You can also freeze pumpkin puree. Just place the fresh pumpkin in a freezer bag with flesh peeled, seal it shut, and label it with name i.e. pumpkin puree, and date.
* Make sure to use frozen pumpkins within six months for best taste and quality.
* If you’re freezing cooked pumpkin, make sure it’s cooled completely before putting it in the freezer.
* If you want to make a sweet pie, don’t think to freeze pumpkin seeds.
* Pumpkin can also be frozen in cubes or slices. Just place them on a baking sheet and freeze for about two hours before transferring them to a bag or container.
* For easy defrosting, place your frozen pumpkin in water for about an hour until it’s thawed. Then, drain it before cooking.
* To freeze raw pumpkin, cut it into the size and shape you need for recipes. Then, place it in freezer bags or containers.
What are the Benefits of Preserving Pumpkin?
The benefits of freezing pumpkin are essentially the same as with most vegetables. Freezing can extend the life of fruits and vegetables, which is especially helpful if you have a bumper crop or are trying to save money on groceries. It can also help you reduce food waste and ensure that you always have healthy ingredients on hand for recipes.
How Long Will Frozen Pumpkin Last?
Frozen pumpkin will last for about six to eight months. Just make sure to label and date the packages before you freeze them. Also, make sure to keep preserving pumpkin in a freezer that’s below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, make sure to defrost raw pumpkin before cooking it. This ensures that the nutrients are kept intact.
What Can I Use Frozen Pumpkin For?
Freezing pumpkin is really useful for preserving this fruit long term because it offers you so many opportunities for how to use pumpkin down the road.
Here’s a list of some things you can do with frozen pumpkin:
1) Pumpkin Bread
This is a classic way to use up pumpkin. You can also add nuts, cranberries, or even chocolate chips for extra flavor and texture.
2) Pumpkin Muffins
Another great way to cook pumpkin is to make your pumpkin puree. These are perfect for breakfast or a snack.
3) Pumpkin Soup
A delicious and healthy soup made with homemade pumpkin puree, vegetables, and stock or broth.
4) Make and Freeze Pumpkin Puree
Try making pumpkin puree recipes. Homemade pumpkin puree can be used as baby food, in smoothies, or as the base for pies and muffins. Make soup Freeze extra portions of roasted or cooked pumpkins. You can also make pumpkin soup when you cook pie pumpkins with vegetable broth.
5) Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkins are a great way to add flavor and moisture to pancakes. These particular sweets are perfect for the fall season. You can blender or food processor for it.
6) Spiced Pumpkin Latte
A frozen pumpkin latte is another great way to enjoy pumpkin flavor without the need for baking. This latte is creamy and full of spices, perfect for fall or winter.
7) Pumpkin Pie
A whole frozen pumpkin in the oven for 1 to 2 hours at 350 F or until tender will give you something amazing to eat. Mash it to use for pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, cinnamon, cheesecake, and cookies. Add this puree to mashed potatoes.
Finally use it in baked goods like muffins, bread, and cake. Add pumpkin to your morning oatmeal or yogurt. Mix it in with ground turkey or beef to make a savory dish. Make jam
There are so many possibilities for how to use frozen pumpkins, the list could go on and on! With a little creativity, you can use this versatile fruit in just about any recipe. You can even make crustless pumpkin pie.
Should I Know Something About Freezing Pumpkin?
Freezing pumpkin is really not that different from freezing any other vegetable. Just make sure to put it in the freezer within two hours of cutting it open. Also, make sure you completely cool the cooked pumpkin before freezing.
The last thing you want is freezer burn!
Freezer burn will make your pumpkin taste dry and beige in color. It’s still safe to eat, but it’s not going to taste very good.
Once you’re ready to use your frozen pumpkin, just defrost it in the fridge or under running water. It should be completely thawed in a few hours. Then, you can use it in any recipe you like.
So, now that you know all about how to preserve pumpkin, why not make your favorite pumpkin recipes or homemade pumpkin puree? All you need is the pumpkin (with pumpkin seeds removed) and a freezer bag or containers. Go ahead and stock up for the winter!
It’s so easy to freeze pumpkin, so try freezing some tonight!
CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE: How To Freeze Fresh Herbs