Pumpkin is a huge versatile vegetable that can be used in a range of dishes. But what happens if you’ve got an abundance of pumpkin you won’t get through?
Can you freeze pumpkin? Does it freeze well? Or should it be eaten as fresh as possible?
Pumpkin can be frozen for up to 9 months. It is an incredibly versatile vegetable. It can be frozen raw, roasted, as a soup, puree or even in a pie.
Can You Refreeze Pumpkin? Yes
Does Pumpkin Freeze Well? Yes
How To Freeze Pumpkin
With our first method for freezing pumpkin, we’re going to keep things simple and assume you want to just freeze chunks of uncooked pumpkin, right? Well, here goes:
- Prepare Pumpkin
Cut your pumpkin down the middle, scoop out the seeds and then peel it. Cut your pumpkin into equal sizes chunks – consider the size you would normally eat and go with this.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and then blanch your pumpkin for 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove from the boiling water and place in a bowl of ice-cold water to halt the cooking.
- Spread Out on a Tray
Tip your cooked pumpkin onto a baking tray and spread out ensuring none of the pieces are touching.
- Flash Freeze
Place the tray into the freezer and flash freeze for a few hours. You just want to freeze the outside solid.
- Bag Up
Remove the tray from the freezer and tip the contents into a freezer bag before storing for the long term in the freezer.
Blanching is done to retain the colour of the pumpkin, the flavour and the texture. It also helps to hold onto those vital nutrients.
It might be tempting to skip this step but it takes just a matter of minutes and will be the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
If, however, you want to freeze completely cooked pumpkin, then the same approach can be used. But first, cook the pumpkin. You need to ensure you don’t overcook it otherwise it will become mushy and you’ll struggle to freeze it.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Dishes
Pumpkin can be used in a variety of dishes – some sweet and some savoury. The good news is that there are a number of pumpkin dishes that can also be frozen which we’ve covered below:
How to Freeze Pumpkin Soup
More good news – yes, you can freeze pumpkin soup and it’s not difficult to do at all! Just keep reading to discover our easy approach to freezing pumpkin soup.
Before we get to freezing your soup, make sure you have extremely thick freezer bags to hand.
You get what you pay for when it comes to freezer bags and the last thing you want is to buy cheap bags which leak and cause you to flood your entire freezer with pumpkin soup.
Once you’ve made your soup, allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Bag Up
Take a freezer bag and pour in your soup – you’ll want to freeze it in portion sizes.
Seal the bag up, squeezing out as much of the air as possible.
Place your soup bags in the freezer – done!
If you want to learn more about freezing soup in general then we have written about freezing soup and the different types of soup you can (and cannot) freeze. Go and check it out!
How to Freeze Pumpkin Pie
It looks like every form of pumpkin can be frozen because it’s more good news, as pumpkin pie can be frozen too.
We would only recommend freezing a whole pumpkin pie. When you begin cutting it up, you increase the risk of moisture affecting the texture of the pie.
Take your whole pumpkin pie and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Wrap Multiple Times
Once cooled, we would recommend wrapping it in several layers of clingfilm before wrapping it in a final layer of foil. This is all to protect it from freezer burn.
Place it in the freezer.
Please note that frozen pumpkin pie will only last in the freezer for around a month before the texture of both the pastry and the filling begin to degrade. Make sure you plan ahead so that your pumpkin pie doesn’t go to waste.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Puree
The process for freezing pumpkin puree is exactly the same as freezing soup which we have discussed above. The only difference is if you decide to freeze in smaller portions then you may want to go the route of using an ice cube tray.
3 Tips for Freezing Pumpkin
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing pumpkin to have the best results:
Consider Making Dishes
Pumpkin freezes well on its own. But if you want to save yourself more time in future then it’s worth considering freezing it in complete dishes which you can place into the freezer.
Yes, it takes a little extra time but blanching pumpkin is well worth the extra effort. It will ensure it freezes well, retaining its texture, colour and flavour.
Mix It Up
You could also try freezing pumpkin mixed with other root vegetables which you can then roast from the freezer. Create mixed bags of carrots, potato, pumpkin, squash, swede, turnip and onion.
How Long Can You Freeze Pumpkin?
This depends on the form of the pumpkin you’re freezing but, generally speaking, your frozen pumpkin chunks will last in the freezer for around 9 months and your frozen soup will last for around 6 months.
Beyond these time frames, there is a risk that the pumpkin will lose some of its vibrant colour and strong earthy flavour.
You Can Freeze Pumpkin for Around 9 Months
How Do You Defrost Pumpkin?
If you’re defrosting pumpkin soup or puree then this can actually be done over a very low heat. Once it has thawed completely, you can turn the heat up to get it bubbling away.
If you’re using pumpkin chunks then we would highly recommend thawing in the fridge overnight. This will prevent any loss of texture with your pumpkin. Yes, it takes longer, but the outcome will make it worth waiting for.
Can You Refreeze Pumpkin?
It is safe to refreeze pumpkin but only do so once. Remember, you will want to refreeze your pumpkin not long after thawing – try to limit this to 36hrs. If you leave it beyond this time then there is a chance bacteria will form.
It is also important to note that you should only refreeze your pumpkin if it was thawed in the fridge. If it was thawed at room temperature then there is a greater risk of bacteria having formed.
Does Pumpkin Freeze Well?
If you take the time to correctly store your pumpkin and you avoid as much moisture and air from getting to your frozen pumpkin then it freezes particularly well.
Its water content, tough structure and strong flavour lend themselves perfectly to being frozen.
In fact, even a pumpkin connoisseur (if that’s a thing) will struggle to taste and tell the difference between fresh and frozen pumpkin – it’s that good!
If you’ve still got questions about freezing pumpkin or pumpkin in general, then these may help:
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Seeds?
Freezing pumpkin seeds is a great way to preserve them. They will, unfortunately, turn rancid pretty quickly once they come into contact with air. If you want to freeze a sealed packet of seeds then you can toss them into the freezer in their original packaging.
If, however, you have opened them or have harvested the seeds yourself then you’ll need to use a freezer bag. It is vital that you remove as much air when you seal the bag up as the moisture in the air can spoil your seeds.
Once frozen, they will last for around a year in the freezer – and that’s plenty of time!
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Without Blanching?
Although it’s likely to be safe to do so, we would strongly advise against freezing pumpkin without blanching it. Blanching is a great way to secure flavour, texture, nutrients and colour. It might take a little extra time but it’s well worth this effort.
Can You Freeze Other Squash Varieties?
Yes! In fact, other varieties freeze just as well as pumpkin. We’ve written about freezing butternut squash before and the same methods can be applied to other varieties of squash including onion and spaghetti squashes.
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