Canning Pumpkin with Honey and Spice

sweet pumpkins

There is no better time to can pumpkin than in October when they are fresh off the vine. Just too delicious for words!
Pumpkin flesh can be preserved and used in pies and numerous baked goods throughout the coming year.
And just so you know, canning cubed pumpkin is perfectly safe even with FDA standards. Plus the cubed pumpkin can be mashed later right before adding it to your recipe.


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Real Pumpkin

Just so you know, most canned pumpkin you buy in the store is actually winter squash. In fact, pumpkin and squash are sometimes mixed intentionally to get a desirable consistency. And as far as FDA Compliance policies, “pumpkin” is considered in compliance with regulations even if the contents contain squash, or a mixture of squash and pumpkin. This is because all pumpkins are considered winter squash. However, all winter squash is not pumpkin. In addition, to make matters more confusing, in some parts of the world all squash is called a pumpkin.

But the truth of the matter is, “real” pumpkin is said to have some impressive health benefits such as balancing the body’s electrolytes after a workout, reducing wrinkles, and more. For additional information on the health benefits of pumpkin see:

Pumpkin Helps Reduce Wrinkles, Balance Electrolytes and May Reduce Cancer Risk

Is Pumpkin Safe to Can

As of late, I have read a few articles that say pumpkin should not be canned. Now quite a few years ago the USDA said pumpkin puree (known as pumpkin butter) should not be canned. The USDA states that pumpkin butter is too dense for the heat to reach the center while processing, therefore the product is unsafe. In honesty, I have never had an issue with canning pumpkin.

But I felt that you needed to know the USDA recommendations. Please note that I am not recommending that anybody go against the USDA, but I really have not had any issues with spoilage.
Nonetheless, this recipe is for canning pumpkin in cubes, not pureed or mashed.

pumpkin pickled

The Recipe

Ever tried canning pumpkins? It really is pretty easy. Plus you will have plenty of pumpkin to use year round. This recipe for canned pumpkin uses honey and warm spices such as cinnamon and ginger. But if you prefer, the honey and spices can be omitted so you can use the pumpkin for savory dishes.
The preserved pumpkin is great for traditional pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, waffles and savory pumpkin dishes.
Here are a few pumpkin recipes I know you will enjoy:

Note: Because pumpkin has no acid, it is safest to use a pressure canner to avoid spoilage.

Canning Pumpkin Naturally with Honey and Spice
Yields 4
Simple, Sure & Delicious
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. Zest of 1 lemon
  2. 3 ¾ cups honey, to taste
  3. 3 cups filtered water (approximate)
  4. ¼ cup finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  5. 2 cinnamon sticks
  6. 1 sugar pumpkin (3 to 4 pounds), seeded, peeled, and cut into 1 1/2 × 3/4 × 3/4 -inch pieces
  1. Cut the pumpkin in half. Using an ice cream scoop, scrape out all the innards. Make sure to reserve the seeds for roasting later
  2. Cut the pumpkin halves into 3 or 4 pieces. Put the pieces into a large nonreactive stockpot. Add enough water to almost fill the pot. Add lemon zest, honey, fresh ginger and cinnamon. Simmer and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Using a colander, drain the pumpkin. Reserve all the liquid. Allow to cool for easy handling
  3. Peel the skin off the pumpkin. Cut into 1 1/2 × 3/4 × 3/4 -inch pieces or preferred size. Do not puree or mash the pumpkin
  4. Return pumpkin pieces back to the stockpot. Add reserved cooking liquid. Heat the mixture for about 5 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, sterilize your pint canning jars by heating them in a flat pan of water. Also sterilize the lids in water and kept everything hot until ready to use. You will need about 8 half-pint jars or 4 one-pint jars.
  6. With slotted spoon, transfer pumpkin pieces to sterilized canning jars. Pour in cooking liquid to within ½ inch of top of each jar. Remove air bubble by inserting a plastic air bubble tool (or a butter knife) between the inside of the jar and the pumpkin. Adjust the half inch headspace of liquid by adding more if needed. But do not fill with liquid closer than ¼ inch from top. Wipe the jar rim and tighten the lids and rings on to fingertip tightness.
  7. Place the filled jars into a pressure canner. Make sure to follow the directions that come with your pressure canner. Generally, I process my pint jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes (quarts are processed for 90 minutes).
  8. After processing, remove the canner from the heat. Allow the pressure to drop to ZERO. Remove jars from the canner. Set the jars on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool. Listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.
  1. Quality: Ideally, pumpkins should have a hard rind and stringless, mature pulp. Small size pumpkins (sugar or pie varieties) are best used for canning. The Pie pumpkin is smaller and sweeter than "Jack-O-Lantern" pumpkins.
  2. Altitudes: If you live at altitudes higher than 2,000 feet above sea level, adjust your canning recipes for food safety. Generally, you should increase pounds of pressure by ½ pound for each additional 1,000 feet. Make sure to read the pressure cookers manufacturing instructions.
Living Green newsflash

Finding Products to Make Canning Easier

Amco Stainless Steel 5-Piece Utensil Set
OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
Excelsteel 16 Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot With Encapsulated Base
Cuisinart 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker, Brushed Stainless and Matte Black

Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jar 8 oz. 12-Count
Ball Jar Mouth Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Regular, Set of 12

pumpkins on bench

Picture credit

Pumpkins on bench: The five sisters via photopin (license)
Multi colored pumpkin: Mini Pumpkins via photopin (license)
Big fat pumpkins: Pumpkin Festival – 10-11-2011 via photopin (license)
Pumpkin in jar: My Edible Journey
Several jars of canned pumpkin: Putting up with Erin



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2 Responses

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    I’m going for the flour less pumpkin spice muffins! 🙂

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