freeze pumpkin puree

Can You Freeze Pumpkin Puree?

Pumpkin puree is a prime example of just how versatile vegetables can be. Whether homemade or canned, pumpkin puree is used in sweet and savory applications and is especially popular during the fall and winter holiday season.

Pumpkin puree is used in many favorite holiday recipes, and that means that you often have some leftovers. Luckily, pumpkin puree can be frozen to extend its shelf life and you don’t have to see any go to waste.

Here is everything you need to know to successfully preserve pumpkin puree in the freezer.

Types of Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is cooked pumpkin, blended or mashed into a smooth pulp. The pumpkin can be cooked by roasting, baking, steaming, or boiling before being turned into a puree. The method of cooking will influence the flavor of the puree as well as its density.

Roasting pumpkin, for example, uses a higher heat, reduces the moisture content, and has a caramelization effect on the naturally occurring sugars in the pumpkin.

The variety of pumpkin used will also affect the color, flavor, and texture of the puree with larger pumpkins generally containing more moisture, a stringier texture, and a less intense flavor.

Buying ready-made canned pumpkin puree is an easy alternative to having to peel, cook, and blend your own veggies. Some brands may include artificial flavoring and preservatives to extend the shelf life of the canned product.

Pumpkin pie filling is often confused with plain pumpkin puree as it can be purchased in the same way. It is, however, different from canned pumpkin puree as it has already been flavored with spices and has been sweetened prior to canning.

The puree of pumpkin makes an excellent base for soups, stews, muffins, bread, cookies, and of course pie filling too.

Can Pumpkin Puree Be Frozen?

Yes, both homemade and canned pumpkin puree can be frozen to extend its shelf life. 

When freezing pumpkin puree, it is important to keep it protected from contact with air and moisture as this may cause freezer burn which will influence the flavor and texture of the puree when thawed.


How To Freeze Pumpkin Puree

There are 2 ways in which you can choose to pack the pumpkin puree for freezing:

Method 1: Small Portions

Step 1: Cool

If the pumpkin puree is warm from cooking, let it cool down completely to room temperature before preparing to freeze.

Step 2: Portion

To freeze small portions of puree, an ice cube or muffin tray is ideal. It is preferable to use silicone molds as opposed to hard plastic ice cube trays or metal muffin trays to prevent sticking and color staining.

Scoop the puree into the compartments and cover the top with a layer of clingfilm.

Step 3: Pre-freeze

Place the ice cube or muffin tray in the freezer just until the puree is fully frozen. Once hard, remove the tray from the freezer.

Step 4: Bag it

Remove the cubes or rounds from the ice cube or muffin tray and pack them into a resealable freezer bag. Press out any air from the bag before sealing. The less contact the puree has with air during storage, the better the quality will remain.

Step 5: Label and Freeze

Label the freezer bag with the contents and date so that you can keep track of how long it has been stored and place it in the freezer.

Method 2: Larger Portions

Step 1: Cool

If the pumpkin puree is warm from cooking, let it cool down completely to room temperature before preparing to freeze.

Step 2: Pack

To freeze larger amounts of puree, place the pumpkin puree into resealable freezer bags. Press out all the air at the top of the bag and seal.

Step 3: Label

Label the bag with the contents and date so that you can keep track of how long it has been stored.

Step 4: Freeze

Freeze the bags flat on a baking sheet. Remove the baking sheet once the packs are frozen. The flat frozen packs of puree make for easy and tidy stacking in the freezer, allows them to freeze evenly, and thaw quicker.

Keep in mind that when freezing large batches, you will have to thaw the entire pack at one time and use it within a couple of days.


How To Thaw Frozen Pumpkin Puree

To defrost pumpkin puree, place the freezer bag of puree in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Alternatively, put the sealed bag in a water bath or use the defrost setting on the microwave.

Defrosted puree, especially the homemade type, may form a watery layer on top once thawed. Simply stir the liquid back into the puree or pour it off.

If you find the puree to be on the watery side,  reduce the quantity of other additional liquids in the recipe you are using the puree for by 2 to 3 tablespoons.


FAQs

Conclusion

Don’t underestimate this simple ingredient. Canned pumpkin puree is great for pasta, muffins, bread, frosting, ice cream, pancakes, and cupcakes.

Freezing pumpkin puree in larger quantities is suitable for use in soups, casseroles, and batters, while freezing it in ice blocks is great for adding to smoothies and sauces. Easy to freeze and quick to thaw, there is no reason to waste leftover puree.

Up next: Can You Freeze Pumpkin Pie?

*image by JulijaDM/depositphotos

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