Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money. A sane approach to sustainability!
Next up…How to preserve pumpkin
LET’S TALK PUMPKINS
Pumpkins begin to show up in earnest the beginning of September and continue on until well into November. If you are planning on preserving your pumpkin this is the best time to buy them when they are plentiful.
WHERE TO BUY PUMPKINS
Pumpkins can be found easily at produce stands, farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Pumpkin patches spring up seemingly out of nowhere as well. Keep in mind that many of the so called patches may actually have their pumpkins shipped in and laid about. It’s great for the kids and carving but not necessarily a place where I might choose my pumpkins for preserving. Where pumpkins are concerned bigger is not always better.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PUMPKINS
Cinderella pumpkin or sugar pie pumpkins are one of the best for preserving. The skin is thinner and produces more flesh with a drier and sweeter pulp. Large pumpkins may be roasted but be prepared to drain your pumpkin after roasting to prevent the pumpkin puree from being to runny. The texture of the large pumpkins may be more grainy. When buying look for a deep rich color that has a nice shine. The pumpkin should also be firm with a stem that is at least 4 inches long and well dried. A dried stem means the pumpkin has hardened off sufficiently.
To store pumpkins for up to 90 days be sure to choose a pumpkin with a stem that is intact and is at least 4 inches long. The stem area is an easy area for bacteria and disease to be introduced into the pumpkin. Don’t ever hold the pumpkin by the stem to prevent damage to the area. It is best to store pumpkins on a board, a piece of cardboard or rack that allows for air to circulate freely. Storing on a concrete surface produces rot much quicker, most likely due to the pressure on the pumpkin. Store in a cool, dry area and turn the pumpkin occasionally to help relieve pressure on the same spot for too long.
To preserve pumpkin it may be canned, frozen, or made into preserves. When canning pumpkin it is important to note that canning pureed pumpkin is not recommended. The only recommended procedure for canning is cubing the pumpkin and it must be done with a pressure canner. Mashing the pumpkin in any way prevents the proper temperatures from being reached throughout the jar and can lead to spoiling and botulism developing. For this reason I have chosen to freeze my pumpkin instead of canning.
How to Store and Preserve Pumpkin shared with: The Ultimate Linky: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
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