Leave pumpkins on the vine until they are fully mature and are vibrant orange in color. They should appear firm and have a hard outer skin. Leave 1 inch of the stem on when you harvest to make pumpkins easier to handle.
Wash pumpkins and cut into quarter pieces or smaller for cooking. Scrape out the seeds with an ice cream scoop. Steam, bake or cook in boiling water until fully tender (45 to 60 minutes depending on size of pieces). Wearing gloves, remove hot pulp from the rind and mash with a potatoes masher or run it through a hand-cranked strainer.
Pack warm pulp into 1-pint boilable freezer bags. Add butter and seasoning, if desired. Seal. Cool, pat bags dry and freeze.
Pack cooled pulp in suitable containers leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing asparagus includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers and heavy-duty aluminum foil.
10 to 12 months at 0 F.
Defrost pulp in the refrigerator or microwave, or reheat in boilable bags.
Prepare and freeze winter squash varieties using this same method.
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