Forget using pumpkins as your conventional Halloween decoration; have you thought of the many benefits pumpkins could offer your body? Have you thought about canning pumpkin?
Well, think about it pumpkins will:
- Balance your blood pressure
- Help prevent diabetes
- Protect you from eye infections
- Boost your immune system
You don’t have to miss out on all these and many other benefits. There are many types of pumpkins, some of which include:
- Crystal star
- White pie
- White boar head
There are so many other varieties of pumpkins that have high nutritional value.
Nutritional Composition of Pumpkins
Pumpkins comprise different nutrients that are all essential for the body. They comprise of:
4. Vitamin C-18%of the RDI
5. Vitamin K-49% of the RDI
In addition to these nutrients, pumpkins do not have any cholesterol despite having 49 calories. They also have other vitamins and minerals in varied ranges depending on the type.
Now that you are aware of their health benefits and nutrients composition, let’s look at how you can them. The aim is to preserve them properly to ensure you have enough to last you as you would wish.
Equipment Necessary for Canning Pumpkin
Organize these items in advance to avoid running back and forth:
- Canning jars with lids and rings
- Pressure canner
- Jar tongs
- Cooking pot
- Chopping board
Ingredients for Canning Pumpkin
- Canning salt
With all these in place, we can move to the instructions.
Instructions for Canning Pumpkin
Choose Your Pumpkin
Whether you are getting your pumpkin from your farm, grocery store, or the farmers’ market, you need to identify the best quality. Get mature pumpkins as young ones tend to be bitter.
Ensure the pumpkins you choose don’t have soft spots or bruises. Also, they should be heavy and stringless.
Clean and Cutting the Pumpkin
Preferably wash the pumpkin under running water, but if this is not possible, fill a bowl with water and clean the pumpkin. No need for soap.
Then, Place the pumpkin on your chopping board and cut it into two halves. Pumpkins are hard. Ensure that your knife is sharp and you apply enough pressure.
The main aim of cutting the pumpkin into two is to remove the seeds. Use the spoon to remove the seeds and the strings inside.
Note, preserve the seeds. Yes, You can plant the seeds later or have them as a meal, and did you know these seeds are libido boosters? Now you know.
The pumpkin is now ready for peeling. The pumpkin skin is tightly attached to the internal pumpkin. For this reason, you need to soften the skin for easy extraction. How?
- Use a microwave– Slice the pumpkin into sizes that will fit in a bowl. Add some water, like half a glass. Let it cook for 10 minutes on high. Poke to check the texture and remove if the skin is soft.
- Steam– Use a steamer or your preferred cookware. Add minimal water and remove after ensuring skin is soft. Don’t overcook till mushy. Drain immediately.
At this point, you can easily peel the pumpkin with your hand or use a blunt knife. Try to be keen to extract the peels alone without wasting the pumpkin. You can let them cool a bit to make this easy.
Cut the pumpkin into small cubes. Place them apart and let them sit for a while to allow them to lose the extra water content and harden.
Fill the cubes in your clean jars, leaving an inch of headspace. Add hot water that you drained earlier or just hot tap water.
Cover the jars with the rings and lids appropriately.
Place the Jars in the Canner
Use the tongs to lift your jars and place them on your pressure canner. Bring the water to a boil. Cover the canner but don’t place the weight yet.
Allow the canner to steam for around ten minutes to get off all the free air before placing the weight in its place.
Place the weight appropriately, ensuring the canner is covered all over. Adjust the pressure to 11 pounds.
Start timing once the canner hits the 11 pounds pressure level. Allow cooking for approximately one hour.
It’s worth noting that the time it takes and the pressure level depend on the brand of your canner and the altitude of your locality. So, read through the manual to ensure you are carrying out the process right.
Once the time has elapsed, switch off the heat and let it cool. Ensure the pressure level on your gauge is at zero before opening the canner.
Avoid hastening the cooling process. Let the jars cool off naturally for around half an hour.
Use the tongs to lift the jars to avoid burning and place them on your countertop. Allow them enough time to cool off. Check to see that the rings are intact and the lids are not soft.
While undertaking the canning procedure, ensure that you use a pressure canner. Don’t use a water bath canner as it’s not suitable for low acid vegetables.
Secondly, it’s not advisable to can pumpkin puree. When canning, the heat may not get to the center of your canning jar, which means you won’t be yielding the expected results, and at the same time, you are exposing yourself to health concerns. With the cubes, it’s easy to get the heat distributed evenly.
With that, your pumpkins are now properly preserved for future meals. You can have your canned pumpkins with a variety of recipes, including:
- Adding the pumpkins to your lentils
- Adding to waffles and pancakes
- Takin with soup
- Combine with your yogurt
- Have it with the oatmeal or bread
You are not limited to these recipes. Customize your recipe, try out new things, and you could possibly be on your way to discover another yummy way to have canned pumpkins.
Canned pumpkins do not lose their nutritional value in the process. Canning your pumpkin gives you the convenience of having ready pumpkins when you need to fix a quick meal.
Boost your immune and that of your loved ones, especially your kids, whose immunity is still in the formation stage. Avoid frequent visits to the doctor by having healthy meals like canned pumpkins.