How to Can Pumpkin Step-By-Step

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In this post, we will learn how to can pumpkin. Pumpkins are a low acid food so we will have to use a pressure canner, but don’t let it scare you! I’ll show you step-by-step how easy it is to can your pumpkins using a pressure canner so you can enjoy your harvest (or the pumpkins you got throughout the season) year-round.


I love canning. It’s definitely a process but I love that I can preserve something in a way that I am not dependent on electricity to keep it.

I think jars of homemade canned food, especially vegetables, are a beautiful thing to look at, but what I love most of all about canning is that there is no need to remember ahead of time to thaw the food. It’s just there on the shelf waiting for you to use it.

So I try to can anything I can. I canned my goat milk earlier this season, my favorite thing to can is fruit, like this peach jam and sugar-free strawberry jam, and applesauce.

But, to be honest, my least favorite thing to can are vegetables. I like my vegetables firm and crunchy and fresh, but, most of the time, the canning process involves cooking them and they turn mushy and/or soft. Not my favorite texture when it comes to vegetables.

However, with pumpkins (or tomato sauce, for example) it doesn’t really matter since I most likely am going to use what I can to make a puree.

How to Can Pumpkin…

Canning pumpkin at home is not as hard as you might think! Yes, you do need to use a pressure canner but really, it's not a big deal. Let me show you step-by-step how to can pumpkin at home so you can enjoy it year-round!

BUT! We can’t can pumpkin puree (we can freeze pumpkin puree but not can it). The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that “only pressure canning methods are recommended for canning cubed pumpkin”.

This is honestly not a big deal because the cubed pumpkin inside the jars is going to be soft, so when you want to use it you just get the cubes out of the jar and mash them to make a puree. Super simple.

I know a lot of people are a bit afraid of the pressure canner. I was too at the beginning, but seriously, it’s not hard at all. Let me show you how to can pumpkin the right way…

Here is what we are going to go over…

  1. What kinds of pumpkins can we can at home?
  2. Equipment we need for canning pumpkin.
  3. Preparing the pumpkin for canning.
  4. Boiling the pumpkin before canning.
  5. Preparing the canning jars, lids, and rings.
  6. Packing the jars with pumpkin.
  7. Removing air bubbles from the jars.
  8. Closing the jars with lids and rings.
  9. Canning pumpkin in the pressure canner.
  10. Storing home-canned pumpkin jars.

What Kinds of Pumpkins Can we Can at Home?

All of them!

Let’s get one thing clear… You won’t hear me telling you to use this kind or that kind of pumpkin.

I honestly don’t care if my pumpkins are pie pumpkins or a cheap carving pumpkin. I love them all!

A pumpkin is a pumpkin and I turn red when someone tells me that they tossed their pumpkin because it wasn’t a pie pumpkin.

It’s a pumpkin. Even if you decorate with it during the fall you can still eat it when it’s time to redecorate.

Also, I want you to know that you can use this same tutorial to can butternut squash too.

Equipment we Need for Canning Pumpkin…

Here is everything we are going to need for canning pumpkin at home…

A large cutting board – I love the wooden ones for cutting vegetables.

A knife – just a good kitchen knife to remove the stem and cube the pumpkin.

A vegetable peeler – to peel the pumpkin.

A large pot – to boil the pumpkin cubes.

A pressure canner – I use a Presto dial gauge pressure canner.

A ladle – to help us fill the jars with pumpkin cubes.

Quart jars – I used wide mouth quart jars but you can use regular mouth too or pints instead of quarts. Whatever you’d like.

Lids and rings – to close the jars.

A paper towel – to clean the rim of the jars before we close them.

Canning utensils – we’ll use the funnel, jar lifters, magnetic lid lifter, and the bubble remover.

Preparing the Pumpkin for Canning…

A large pumpkin

I bought this beauty at Walmart the other day. Again, it’s probably a pumpkin they sell for people to make a Jack-O-Lantern from but for me it’s a delicious pumpkin, period.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any pumpkins in the garden this year so you can only imagine how excited I was when I finally spotted a pumpkin at the store!

I grabbed a few and headed home to process them.

Cutting the stem of the pumpkin out.

We start by sticking a sharp knife in the top of the pumpkin and cutting around the stem…

Removing the stem of the pumpkin.

Until we can remove it.

Cutting the pumpkin in half.

Next, cut the pumpkin in half.

Cleaning the pumpkin seeds out.

Now we want to clean the inside. The pumpkin seeds are just as exciting as the pumpkin itself.

Check out my post about 15 amazing health benefits of pumpkin seeds, and check how I roast my pumpkin seeds for a yummy fall snack!

Using a vegetable peeler to peel the pumpkin.

Ok, after we removed the seeds it’s time to peel the pumpkin. I used my vegetable peeler to do that.

Peeling the pumpkin.

I was able to remove most of the skin…

Cutting the pumpkin to peel it better.

Then I sliced the pumpkin further to allow me better access to the little bit that was left.

Cutting the pumpkin further.

Just keep going peeling and cutting the pumpkin further…

One inch pumpkin cubes in a pot.

Until you have 1” pumpkin cubes.

Boiling the Pumpkin Before Canning…

Covering the pumpkin cubes with water.

Place your pumpkin cubes in a big pot and fill it with water to cover the pumpkin.

This is the hardest part of this whole process! From now on it’s simple canning.

So, place your pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, let the pumpkin cook for 2 minutes. Then turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner.

Preparing the Canning Jars, Lids, and Rings…

Preparing the jars for canning.

While the pumpkin is doing its thing on the stovetop, we can work on sanitizing our canning jars.

I have to say that this is not a must. You can simply wash your jars in hot water with some dish soap and set them on the counter. Everything will be fine if you do that, we are going to process them in the pressure canner for 90 minutes, no bacteria is going to last, I assure you.

But, if you want to sanitize your jars anyway there are a few different ways to do this, one of them is boiling the jars in a pot of water, but I prefer to simply stick them in the oven.

So first, wash them well, dry them, and place them on a baking sheet. Turn your oven to 325 F and stick the jars in there for ten minutes.

When they are done, turn the oven off and remove the baking sheet with the jars. From this point on you must remember not to touch the rim of the jars with your fingers, we want to keep that part clean.

Preparing the lids for canning.

While the jars are doing their thing in the oven, place your lids and rings in a pot, fill it with water and let the water get warm, but not boiling. You no longer need to boil the lids as the rubber formulation has changed. Then just turn the heat off, leave everything in the pot.

Getting the canning utensils ready.

Make sure your canning supplies are clean and set them up on the counter. Bring the pot with the pumpkin (still in its cooking water) close by as well.

Packing the Jars With Pumpkin…

Packing the jars with cooked pumpkin cubes.

All right, let’s fill these jars, shall we?

Make sure to use your jar lifters to pick up the jar and set it on your workspace. Set the funnel on top…

Packing the jar before canning pumpkin.

Use a ladle to scoop up some pumpkin cubes, be gentle not to make a mash out of them, and drop them in the jar…

Jar packed with pumpkin cubes.

Until it’s full…

Filling the jar with water.

Then fill the jar with the pumpkin’s cooking water leaving one-inch headspace.

Removing Air Bubbles From the Jars…

Removing air bubbles from the jar.

Now, see the air bubble in the center of the picture inside of the jar?

We don’t want that…

Using the bubble remover.

So grab your bubble remover and slide it down and around the inside of the jar to remove all the air bubbles.

Closing the Jars With Lids and Rings…

Cleaning the rim of the jar.

With a clean paper towel, clean the rim of the jar…

Placing the lid on the jar.

Then, with the magnetic lid lifter grab a lid from the pot and place it on the rim.

Closing the jar with the ring.

Lastly, grab a ring and close the jar. Make sure the ring is not on too tight, just finger tight…

That’s it… Keep filling the rest of the jars until they are all full.

Canning Pumpkin in the Pressure Canner…

Setting up the pressure canner.

Set your pressure canner on the stovetop…

Leaving the rack in the canner.

Keep the rack inside and fill the canner with about three inches of warm water (or follow manufacturer directions for your canner).

Placing the jars in the canner before canning pumpkin.

Use the jar lifter to lift the filled jars into the canner. I processed half of a large pumpkin here so I ended up with four quarts.

Venting the canner.

Close the canner and turn the heat on. I use a simple dial gauge canner (by Presto). Notice that the weight is not on the vent.

We want to bring the canner to a point where it starts to steam (steam will come out of the vent). From that moment, let it steam for ten minutes.

Placing the weight on the canner.

After ten minutes of venting, place the weight on the vent and watch the gauge.

Bringing pressure up.

If you are using a dial gauge canner like mine and…

If you live in 0-2000 ft altitude – once the gauge reaches 11 psi, lower the heat a bit. You want to find the right temperature to keep the gauge at 11 psi (for me it was medium-high heat) for 90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars.

If you live in 2000-4000 ft altitude – you want to keep 12 psi. 90 minutes for quart jars and 55 for pints.

If you live in 4000-6000 ft altitude – you want to keep 13 psi. 90 minutes for quart jars and 55 for pints.

If you live in 6000-8000 ft altitude – you want to keep 14 psi. 90 minutes for quart jars and 55 for pints.

If you are using a weighted gauge pressure canner like this one, you want to keep 10 psi if you live in altitude between 0-1000 ft or 15 psi if you live above 1000 ft. The processing time is the same.

Remember, you start the time from the moment you placed the weight on the vent.

How to can pumpkin.

Once processing is done, turn off the heat and leave the canner for a while to cool. I leave it for a couple of hours or more and just go do something else. It’s important to let it cool slowly.

When you come back, remove the weight and if no steam is coming out you can go ahead and open the canner. Set the lid aside but don’t remove the jars yet. Let them hang out in the warm water for ten more minutes.

Then, use your jar lifters to remove the jars and place them on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool down overnight.

Canned pumpkin in jars.

Beautiful isn’t it!?

You most likely are going to hear the beautiful sound of the jars sealing as they cool if they didn’t already seal inside the canner.

Storing Home-Canned Pumpkin Jars…

Removing the rings before storing canned pumpkins.

When the jars are completely cooled, remove the rings (it’s better to store canned food without the ring so you can see if something funny is growing on top of the food inside of the jar), and store your jars in the pantry or root cellar (a cool and dry place). They should last for a year or even more.

That’s it!

Now when you want to make anything with pumpkins just open a jar, drain the water and use your pumpkin in cubes or you can easily mash them into a puree (here are 47 fresh pumpkin recipes to give you some ideas).


I’ll try to can as many pumpkins as I can this fall. I hope this post will motivate you to go get the canner out and spend some time in the kitchen!!

If you would like to read further about canning pumpkins at home, I found this great article. They prepare the pumpkin a bit differently than how I do it.

Here are some recipes to make with your homemade canned pumpkin:

Low Sugar Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Soup From my Canned Pumpkin

And here are a few more pressure canning tutorials:

How to Can Milk

Canning Pea Soup

How to Can peppers

How to can Meat

How to Can Pumpkin

How to Can Pumpkin

Yield: 4 to 8 quarts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Canning Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes

How to can pumpkin at home. A step by step tutorial.

Ingredients

  • One large pumpkin
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Prepare your pumpkin by removing the stem, peeling the pumpkin, and cutting it into one-inch cubes.
  2. Add the cubed pumpkin to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let the pumpkin boil for two minutes.
  3. Prepare your jars by washing them in hot wat water with a little bit of soap. After washing the jars, set them on the counter and make sure not to touch the rim of the jars from here on out.
  4. Prepare your lids and rings by warming them in a pot of hot water for five minutes. They do not need to be boiled because the rubber formulation has been changed and no longer requires the high heat of boiling. Turn the heat off and let the lids and rings stay in the hot water until you are ready to use them.
  5. Once the jars and the pumpkin are ready, set the canning funnel on a jar and use a ladle to fill the jar with pumpkin cubes.
  6. Once the jar is filled with pumpkin cubes, scoop some of the pumpkin cooking water and add it to the jar. Make sure to leave 1'' headspace.
  7. Next, use the bubble remover to remove air bubbles from the jar.
  8. Use a clean paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar.
  9. Use the magnetic lid lifter to lift a lid from the hot water and cover the jar. Then lift a ring and close the jar finger tight. Repeat this process until all the jars are filled and closed.
  10. Fill your pressure canner with 2'' of warm water. Use the jar lifters to lift the jars and set them in the canner on the rack. Make sure the jars do not touch each other.
  11. Close the canner and turn the heat to high. Let the canner vent steam for 10 minutes before setting the weight on the vent.
  12. For dial gauge canner, watch the dial. Bring the pressure to 11 psi and lower the heat to medium-high to hold this pressure.
  13. Process quart jars on 11 psi for 90 minutes if you live under 1000 feet altitude (more instructions in the notes).
  14. Once the 90 minutes are up, turn off the heat and let the canner cool slowly.
  15. When the canner is cool, remove the lid but leave the jars in the hot water for ten more minutes.
  16. Remove the jars with the jar lifters and set them on the kitchen counter to cool completely (I leave them overnight).
  17. Check that the jars sealed, remove the rings, and store the jars in the pantry or the root cellar.

Notes

If you are using a dial gauge canner like mine and...

If you live in 0-2000 ft altitude - once the gauge reaches 11 psi, lower the heat a bit. You want to find the right temperature to keep the gauge at 11 psi (for me it was medium-high heat) for 90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars.

If you live in 2000-4000 ft altitude - you want to keep 12 psi. 90 minutes for quart jars and 55 for pints.

If you live in 4000-6000 ft altitude - you want to keep 13 psi. 90 minutes for quart jars and 55 for pints.

If you live in 6000-8000 ft altitude - you want to keep 14 psi. 90 minutes for quart jars and 55 for pints.

If you are using a weighted gauge pressure canner like this one, you want to keep 10 psi if you live in altitude between 0-1000 ft or 15 psi if you live above 1000 ft. The processing time is the same.

Remember, you start the time from the moment you placed the weight on the vent.

One half large pumpkin filled 4 quart-jars.

Also, you can use this exact same canning tutorial to can butternut squash.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 6Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

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12 thoughts on “How to Can Pumpkin Step-By-Step”

  1. I LOVE this!
    Question though – would one quart equal one pie? or one pint?
    Trying to gauge what I would need for baking 🙂 Thanks! Can’t wait to try this 🙂

  2. I love canning! When I find a good end of season deal I really jump-in to it. Now’s the time to keep an eye out for the holiday deals on turkey. Few years ago I canned-up 5, just cut to the right size for sandwiches and casserole quick meals. Keeps me out of the over-priced deli, $7.99 for sliced turkey!?……and who cares about the fancy Italian name they stuck on it. Oh! Turkey Pumpkin soup! With a dollop of sour cream and chives tossed on top with your crusty bread! Yum! You teach your children the art of canning, including the “wait & pressure watch time” and how to utilize it. I found out yesterday that even an 18 year old couldn’t figure out how to open a can of tuna without spewing it on half the kitchen.

    1. Sheri, I am also watching for deals on turkey. How did you can it? Do you cook it in the oven first then divide and can in liquid?

    1. I don’t think you have to but if you cook it’s easier to remove the skin and you know that your pumpkin is soft so it’s easy to puree it later. I never tried not to cook before so I am not sure if it will soften all the way if you just pack it fresh. The thing is, most people use pumpkin as a puree but it’s not safe to can it as a puree so we are trying to do the next closest thing.

  3. I have a question, this is my first time canning pumpkin. I have a Carey electric pressure canner. I did all the necessary things to do but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to vent the canner after the cook time. I did. Also half of the liquid was gone after canning. I’m not sure what went wrong. I just took the pumpkin out of the jars and I’m hoping I can still use it. Could you give me some advise on what I did wrong and am I able to use the pumpkin. Thanks

    1. Yes, you can use the pumpkin. I have never used an electric canner before but in the stovetop canners when you lose water in the canes it means that there was a too-quick change of temperature in the canner.
      You want the liquid in the jars and the water in the canner to be at similar temperature before you place the jars in the canner. Make sure to leave 1” headspace and not to overpack the jars. I steam the canner for 10 minutes BEFORE placing the weight on and bringing the pressure up. After you are done canning it’s important to let the canner cool slowly. Don’t open it. Let it cool for a couple of hours, then open the lid and leave the cans in the warm water for an additional 10 minutes before removing them from the canner.
      Again, I’ve never used an electric canner so I have no clue if what I am telling you even makes sense for an electric canner but this is how we prevent the loss of liquid when using a regular canner. It’s a good idea to read the manual of your canner, I bet they have information on preventing the loss of liquid there.

      1. So, if you lose liquid at the top is it still going to be ok? I have canned as 8nstructed but lost about 1 addituinal inch of liquid.

        1. As long as your jars sealed, it should be ok. I’ll make sure to remember to check the jars every couple of weeks. And use the ones that lost liquid first.

  4. I just finished canning my pumpkin, I thought I got all the bubbles out, but all my jars are bubbling. Should I Open and re-process?

    1. No no! You did a good job. It’s completely normal for the liquid inside the jar to bubble. It’s just because it’s boiling. As long as your jars sealed you are good to go!

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