Pumpkin is a truly versatile vegetable that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. As a dessert, it is often enjoyed as pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It also makes a delicious cake as well as muffins.
You can make a tasty soup with pumpkin, add it to omelets, make hummus out of it, mix it with potatoes to make a mash, fill ravioli with a pumpkin puree, and add it to chili and curry dishes. The list is endless.
However, pumpkins can be big, and you might not be able to use them all in one go. Maybe, you grow pumpkins and they all ripen at once. What can you do with a glut of pumpkins? The answer is simple. Freeze them, and in this article, we will tell you how to do this.
How To Freeze Uncooked Pumpkin Chunks
1. Prepare the pumpkin.
Cut the pumpkin in half and take out the seeds. You can keep the seeds and roast them for a healthy snack. Cut the pumpkin into chunks of equal size. It is up to you what size you decide to have the chunks. You just need to think about how you are going to use them when defrosted.
2. Blanch the pumpkin chunks.
You don’t have to blanch the pumpkin chunks but it is worth the extra effort. It helps to retain nutrients, texture, and taste. Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the pumpkin chunk for three to four minutes. Then put the pumpkin in a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.
3. Flash freeze the pumpkin chunks.
Put a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray and lay out the pumpkin chunks. Make sure that the chunks aren’t touching each other. This will stop the chunks from sticking together when you put them in a freezer bag. This means that you will be able to remove just as many pumpkin chunks that you need for your meal. Put the baking tray in the freezer and freeze the pumpkin for a few hours until the chunks are solid.
4. Put the pumpkin chunks in freezer bags.
Make sure that you squeeze out the air from the bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. If it does, the taste, texture, and color of the pumpkin will change, and the chunks will lose some of their nutrients. Put labels on the bags with the date frozen and the contents.
5. Put the bags in the freezer.
You can freeze cooked pumpkin chunks. Just follow the same instructions as for uncooked pumpkin apart from the blanching step. Cook them until they are al dente. If you overcook them, they can become mushy.
How To Freeze Pumpkin Dishes
There are many pumpkin dishes that you can freeze so that you can have a prepared meal when you come in late from work. Here we will tell you how to freeze a selection of pumpkin dishes.
How To Freeze Pumpkin Curry
- After making the curry, cool it down. You can’t leave it at room temperature for longer than two hours otherwise bacteria could start to form. To speed up the process, transfer the curry from the hot pan into a cold bowl. Don’t put the curry in the freezer while it is still warm as it could bring up the temperature and other food in the freezer could start to defrost. When the food begins to refreeze, bacteria could form.
- Put the pumpkin curry in containers.
Portion out the curry into meal-size portions so that you only defrost the amount of curry you need. This will save on waste. It is a good idea to use glass containers as they will stop the smell of the curry permeating the other food in the freezer. Put labels on the containers with the date frozen and the contents.
- Put the glass containers in the freezer.
How To Freeze Pumpkin Soup
Soup freezes well and pumpkin soup is no exception. This is the way to do it.
1. Cool down the soup.
Transfer the hot soup into a cold bowl to speed up the cooling down process.
2. Put the pumpkin soup into freezer bags or airtight containers.
We recommend that you use airtight containers as freezer bags can split and you will end up with a mess in your freezer. There are some extra strong freezer bags out there so if you have limited space in your freezer, you can invest in them. Squeeze out as much air as possible to stop freezer burn from occurring. It is a good idea to freeze meal-size portions so that you just defrost the amount you need for a meal. Put a label on the bags or containers so that you know what is in them and the date you put them in the freezer.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is a popular dessert at Thanksgiving, and you will be pleased to hear that it is possible to freeze it. We suggest that you freeze a whole pie because if you cut it into slices, moisture can ruin the texture of the pie.
1. Cool down the pumpkin pie.
2. Wrap the pie in cling film.
To prevent freezer burn, wrap the pumpkin pie in a few layers of cling film and then in a layer of foil. Make sure that you wrap the pie tightly.
How To Freeze Pumpkin Puree
You can freeze pumpkin puree in the same way as you would freeze soup. However, if you think that you will only need to use a little puree at a time, you can freeze it in the slots of an ice cube tray. Don’t fill the slots right up to the top as the puree will expand when it is freezing. Once the cubes have frozen solid, transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air from the bag to prevent freezer burn and label the bag. The cubes shouldn’t stick together because you have frozen each cube separately.
Tips For Freezing Pumpkin
- Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
- Blanch the uncooked pumpkin cubes to help retain nutrients, texture, taste, and color.
- To save yourself time when you are busy, make pumpkin dishes when you have free time. In addition, freeze them in meal-size portions.
- Freeze the pumpkin chunks with other root vegetables such carrots, potatoes, squash, swede, and turnips. Then you can make roasted vegetables or even make a mixed vegetable soup.
For How Long Can You Freeze Pumpkin?
Frozen pumpkin chunks will last for nine months in the freezer. Pumpkin curries and stews will last for around three months while pumpkin soup will freeze well for up to six months. After this time, they will still be safe to eat but they will lose color and taste. If you are freezing a sweet pumpkin pie, this will only last for one month in the freezer. After this time, both the pastry and the filling will start to degrade. You will find that the pastry might be soggy when you come to defrost it.
How Do You Defrost Pumpkins?
When it comes to pumpkin chunks, it is best to defrost them in the fridge overnight as this helps the chunks to keep their texture. This also helps to stop bacteria from forming. It is a good idea to do this with a pumpkin dish as well, especially if the dish also contains meat. However, if you are defrosting soup, you can cook it from frozen over a low heat until it has thawed out and then you can turn the heat up and get the soup nice and hot. Pumpkin soup is a great soup served at Halloween.
Can You Refreeze Pumpkins?
You can refreeze pumpkin chunks just once otherwise they will start to dry out. However, you can only refreeze pumpkin that has been defrosted in the fridge which you should do anyway. If, for some reason, you have defrosted the pumpkin on the countertop, don’t refreeze it. There is a greater chance of bacteria forming at room temperature. If you do decide to refreeze, do so within 36 hours of defrosting. Remember to keep the pumpkin chunks in the fridge.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Pumpkins?
Yes, it is a good idea to freeze pumpkin chunks as long as you make sure that you try to get as much air and moisture away from the chunks. Pumpkin dishes and soups freeze particularly well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is about freezing pumpkin and pumpkin dishes, but in case you are still curious, we have answered a few questions here.
What spices go well in pumpkin soup?
Nutmeg and cloves are good choices as well as sage, thyme, and rosemary. They add depth of flavor and a subtle sweetness.
Can you freeze pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds become rancid very quickly, even if kept in the fridge so it is a good idea to freeze them so that you can roast them in the future. Put them in individual freezer bags with the amount you think you will use in one sitting. They will keep for up to a year in the freezer. If you buy a packet of pumpkin seeds and don’t open them, you can put them in the freezer as they are.
Can you freeze other squash varieties?
Yes, you can, and you can use the same method as for pumpkins. You can freeze, for example, butternut squash, onion squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and zucchini.