Pumpkins are a fall favorite, but once Halloween is over, many people wonder what to do with the leftover pumpkins. Freezing pumpkin is an excellent way to save it for later use in recipes.
This complete guide will cover everything you need to know about freezing pumpkin puree, cubed pumpkin, pumpkin pie, and more.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Puree
Making your own pumpkin puree is easy. Here are step-by-step instructions:
- Choose a sugar pumpkin or a pie pumpkin. These varieties have thicker flesh and less water content than carving pumpkins.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp.
- Place the pumpkin halves face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the flesh is very soft.
- Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly. Then scoop the flesh from the skin into a blender or food processor.
- Blend until smooth, and let cool completely.
- Portion the puree into freezer bags or airtight containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Label with contents and date. The puree will last 6–8 months in the freezer.
Making your own pumpkin puree allows you to control the ingredients. It’s cheaper than buying canned pumpkin and tastes fresher!
Tips for Freezing Pumpkin Puree
Follow these tips for best results when freezing pumpkin puree:
- Choose pumpkins labeled “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins.” They have thicker flesh and less water.
- Steam or roast the pumpkin flesh before pureeing for better texture.
- Don’t add spices, salt, brown sugar, or anything else before freezing. Add them later when using the puree.
- Allow the puree to cool completely before packing it into freezer bags or containers.
- Exclude as much air from the packages as possible. Use a freezer bag with a zipper or a rigid plastic container.
- Use freezer bags and containers designed for long freezing times. Glass jars may break.
- Label packages with contents and dates. Use the oldest puree first.
- For best quality, use within 8 months. Discard puree that smells or tastes bad after thawing.
Following these tips will give you tasty pumpkin puree whenever you need it!
Can you freeze cubed pumpkin flesh?
Freezing cubed pumpkin flesh is possible, but it will be much softer when thawed. Here are some steps for freezing raw pumpkin chunks:
- Select pie pumpkins. Clean the outside well and cut it in half.
- Remove seeds and stringy pulp. Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch cubes.
- Blanch the cubes for 2 minutes in boiling water. This helps stop enzyme actions that affect texture.
- Drain cubes and pat them dry. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze until hard.
- Transfer frozen cubes to a freezer bag or container, excluding as much air as possible.
- Thawed pumpkin cubes work well in soups, stews, and curries but won’t hold their shape well in other recipes.
- For best quality, use within 8-10 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Freezing raw pumpkin cubes takes a bit more effort but gives you another way to save pumpkin for future use.
Can you freeze cooked pumpkin dishes?
Pumpkin dishes like baked goods, soups, chili, and curries freeze very well. Here are some tips:
- Allow dishes to cool completely before freezing. Divide into portions for 2-4 servings.
- Use freezer-safe containers with a 1/2-inch headspace or freezer bags designed for long freezing times.
- Exclude as much air as possible and seal tightly. Air causes freezer burns.
- Label with contents and freeze date. Use within 2–3 months for the best quality.
- Thaw cooked dishes overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.
Some specific ways to freeze pumpkin dishes include:
- Pumpkin soup: cool and freeze in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
- Pumpkin chili: cool and freeze in containers or bags for up to 3 months.
- Pumpkin bread and muffins: Allow to cool completely, then wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- Pumpkin pie: freeze unbaked pies for up to 2 months. Bake frozen pie with foil-covered edges at 375°F for 50–60 minutes.
With proper freezing techniques, you can enjoy pumpkin dishes all year!
Can you freeze pumpkin pie filling?
Yes, pumpkin pie filling freezes well for up to 3 months when properly packaged. Here are some tips:
- Make the pie filling per your favorite recipe. Allow it to cool completely.
- Pour into a freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Press out any air and seal. Air causes freezer burns on the filling.
- Label with contents and freeze date.
- Thaw the filling overnight in the fridge before making an unbaked pie.
- Bake as usual, covering edges with foil to prevent over-browning. Check the internal temperature to confirm the filling is warmed through.
Freezing pumpkin pie filling makes whipping up fresh pies easy at any time. You can even freeze it in an unbaked pie shell for up to 2 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Choosing the Right Pumpkins for Freezing
- Sugar pumpkins and pie pumpkins have thicker flesh that freezes well compared to carving pumpkins. Look for small, round pumpkins that are heavy for their size.
- Avoid larger Jack-o-lantern carving pumpkins; they have a higher water content and the texture changes more when frozen.
- Fairytale pumpkins are a variety similar to sugar pumpkins; they work well for baking and freezing.
- Smaller pie pumpkins in the 3-5 lb range are best for portion control when freezing.
Storing Frozen Pumpkin
- Try to use the oldest frozen pumpkin first to avoid storage time going beyond recommended limits.
- If you have a deep freezer that maintains 0°F or below, frozen pumpkin can potentially last longer than typical freezer times.
- Avoid temperature fluctuations; the freezer door opening often or power outages shorten shelf life.
- Double-wrap freezer bags for extra insulation and prevention of freezer burn.
Thawing Frozen Pumpkin
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator for food safety. Don’t thaw at room temperature.
- Microwaving pumpkin to thaw quickly can cause texture changes; refrigerate thawing is best.
- Once thawed, use pumpkin within 2 days for best quality. Don’t refreeze previously thawed pumpkins.
- If necessary, pumpkin puree can be thawed quickly under cool running water in a sealed bag.
Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Pumpkin
Freezing pumpkin extends its usefulness while preserving nutrients, flavor, and texture. Here are answers to some common questions:
How long does pumpkin last in the freezer?
In the freezer, pumpkin puree will last 6–8 months, cubed raw pumpkin will last 8–10 months, and cooked dishes will last 2–3 months for the best quality.
Can you freeze canned pumpkin puree?
Yes, canned puree can be frozen in airtight containers or bags for up to 8 months.
What is the best way to thaw frozen pumpkin?
Thaw frozen pumpkin products overnight in the refrigerator. Microwaving causes texture changes.
Can you refreeze pumpkin after thawing?
Only refreeze pumpkin if it was thawed in the fridge and has not been held at room temperature longer than 2 hours. The quality will decline with each thaw.
What happens if you freeze raw pumpkin?
Raw pumpkin flesh changes texture when frozen. Pie pumpkins should be cooked before pureeing or cubed for best results.
Can you freeze pumpkin seeds?
Yes. Clean and dry the seeds completely. Freeze in a single layer, then transfer to bags. They’ll last up to 3 months frozen.
Can you freeze canned pumpkin?
Yes. Transfer canned puree to freezer containers or bags, exclude air, and freeze for up to 2 months. Quality declines after that.
Freezing is a great way to save pumpkin in a variety of forms. Follow the proper methods and enjoy pumpkin all year!
Freezing is an excellent way to preserve fresh pumpkin and make it last months beyond the fall season.
With the proper preparation and storage methods, you can freeze pumpkin puree, cubed pumpkin flesh, baked goods, pie filling, soups, curries, and more.
Use freezer-safe packaging, exclude air, monitor freeze times, and thaw in the refrigerator for the best quality results.
With frozen pumpkin in your freezer, you can easily bake tasty pumpkin treats and cook delicious pumpkin dishes all year long!
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.