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How to Can Winter Squash Including Pumpkin

Squash is a prolific crop to grow in the garden. I love growing them because they are easy to grow, have high yields, decorate my porch in the fall, and then stay good in my root cellar until I am ready to can them in the winter when the heat from canning is a good thing. What's not to like?

Any of the hard winter squashes can be canned in this way. My go-to varieties are pumpkin, acorn, butternut, and Hubbard squash. Canned pumpkin and squash can be used to make dinner rolls, sweet bread, pies, and soups.

How to Pressure Can Winter Squash

The first step is to seed and peel the squash.

Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.

Place the squash in boiling water for 2 minutes.

Fill a quart-sized jar with squash chunks.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar. Cover with hot water leaving 1-inch of headspace.

Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles. Ensure the rim of the jar is clean by wiping it with a clean damp cloth. Place the lid on top of the jar and add the ring. Tighten the ring fingertip tight and process in a pressure canner for 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure if at sea level. (Remember to adjust the pressure for your elevation if higher than 2000 feet.) Also, remember that you need at least 2 quarts or 4 pints for a safe pressure canning load.

Place 3 quarts worth of water in the bottom of the pressure canner and add your jars on the bottom rack. Turn the burner on medium-high and wait until steam begins to come out of the steam vent. (Before placing on the lid check to be sure that the vent is not blocked.) After it begins to steam, set a timer for 10 minutes. When the ten minutes have elapsed add the weight over the vent. Continue to monitor closely and start your 90-minute timer after it has reached the correct pressure. If at any time during the processing, the pressure drops below your target level, the timer must be restarted. After the 90 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. This often takes around 30 minutes.

Once your squash has completed processing and the pressure has gone down to 0 with the pressure indicator down, remove the weight, then the lid and allow the jars to cool for 10 minutes. Then, space the jars about an inch apart on a heat-resistant surface for 24 hours to cool and completely seal.

After 24 hours, remove the ring and wash the outside of the jars off.

If your jar did not seal, then place it in the fridge and use it immediately. Store the sealed jars in your pantry to enjoy for the next 1-3 years. After three years the nutritional value of canned food diminishes. The quality is best in the first year.

If you have any questions about canning with the pressure canner or how to adjust the pressure for altitude, take a look at our canning basics videos.

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