For many, canned pumpkin is a household staple in the fall, especially around Thanksgiving. However, you may find yourself with an open, unfinished can of pumpkin that you don’t want to throw away. Thankfully, we have a solution for you!
Can you freeze canned pumpkin? The answer is yes! However, there are a couple of things that you should know before freezing canned pumpkin. There are multiple ways to freeze canned pumpkin, some better than others, such as in an ice cube tray, in a muffin tin, in a Ziploc bag, or in a freezer-safe Tupperware.
Read on to find out what the best way to freeze canned pumpkin is. We’ll also touch on some important considerations that you should keep in mind when freezing canned goods, along with answering some of the most common questions that arise when freezing and cooking with canned pumpkin.
A Word Of Caution: Freezing Canned Goods
Canned goods, canned pumpkin included, are pressurized, and compact into their can. When the liquid is frozen, it expands, and all canned goods contain at least some quantity of liquid.
Therefore, freezing canned goods can present the risk of the can swelling or even exploding in the freezer.
You should always remove your pumpkin from the can before freezing. Simply put, you should never freeze canned goods directly.
The Best Way to Freeze Canned Pumpkin
While there are multiple ways to freeze canned pumpkin, we consider that one method is much better than the others, and that method is, believe it or not, in an ice cube tray!
Just about everyone has an ice cube tray laying around, and freezing canned pumpkin is a great way to make thawing and reusing quick and easy, as you will have already portioned out the pumpkin before freezing.
Freezing Pumpkin In An Ice Cube Tray
Though it may seem unconventional, freezing your leftover canned pumpkin in an ice cube tray is the ideal way to do it.
Freezing your pumpkin in an ice cube tray will give you tiny and convenient servings of canned pumpkin at your disposal for popping into smoothies, baking into individual mug cakes, or thawing and using in a plethora of recipes.
To freeze your canned pumpkin in an ice cube tray, dollop the canned pumpkin into the tray one tablespoon at a time (that way you’ll know exactly how much pumpkin each portion contains).
Freeze in the tray, and once completely hard, remove and store in a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe container.
By pre-measuring the pumpkin before freezing, there will be no mystery about how much to use when it comes to thawing and using in recipes!
Other Ways to Freeze Canned Pumpkin
Though we consider that freezing canned pumpkin in an ice cube tray then transferring to an airtight bag or container is the best way to go about it, there are a handful of other ways to freeze canned pumpkin.
If you don’t have an ice cube tray or you’d like to freeze larger portions of canned pumpkin, we’ve got other options for you!
Freezing Pumpkin In a Muffin Tin
Very similar to the ice cube tray method, you can freeze canned pumpkin in slightly larger portions in a muffin tin.
Simply measure out ½ cup portions of the canned pumpkin, divide among the muffin tin, and let freeze. Again, once completely hard, transfer to an airtight bag or container to store.
Freezing canned pumpkin in a muffin tin, though an excellent option, didn’t make the cut for the best option for a few reasons.
First off, we feel that it could be helpful having the small portions that the ice cube tray method offers for making single-serve dishes. Additionally, the canned pumpkin may be a bit challenging to remove from the muffin tin once frozen.
Freezing Pumpkin In a Ziploc Bag
Perhaps you have almost an entire can of pumpkin and not enough time to dole out small, individual portions into ice cube trays or muffin tins.
In this case, freezing in a Ziploc bag, or any airtight bag for that matter, is an excellent option, as one 15 ounce can of pumpkin fits perfectly in a quart-size bag.
Storing canned pumpkin in a Ziploc bag is convenient if you know that you’ll want to be using all of it at once, such as in a pie, bread, or cookies. The plastic bags will also occupy little space in your freezer.
Freezing Pumpkin In Tupperware
Similar to the Ziploc bag method, you can also freeze canned pumpkin in freezer-safe Tupperware.
However, Tupperware occupies more space in your freezer, which is why we prefer the Ziploc bag method.
Be sure to leave a little bit of space in your Tupperware before freezing the canned pumpkin, as the pumpkin will expand when frozen and can crack the plastic if it is too tightly packed.
How to Defrost Frozen Pumpkin
The best way to defrost canned pumpkin that you have frozen is in the fridge.
Simply transfer your pumpkin from the freezer to the fridge the night before you want to use it and wait for it to thaw. The thawed pumpkin will last in your fridge a couple of days.
Additionally, you can defrost canned pumpkin in the microwave, though this method is more appropriate for pumpkin that has been frozen in larger quantities. To defrost canned pumpkin in the microwave, place in a microwave-safe bowl and heat using the defrost setting, stirring periodically.
Finally, if you don’t have enough time to thaw in the fridge and aren’t able/don’t want to use a microwave, you can defrost your canned pumpkin in water, much like you would do with meat that has been frozen.
Leave your pumpkin in the airtight bag or container that it has been frozen in and submerge it in lukewarm water. If you choose this method, you must be sure to use the pumpkin immediately after it thaws, as failing to do so could cause your pumpkin to go bad.
You should note that once your frozen pumpkin has been thawed, some of the liquid will have separated out. If you want your pumpkin to be thicker and more concentrated, simply drain out the liquid, or you can stir it into the rest of the pumpkin when adding to chili, soups, or stews.
How long does canned pumpkin last in the fridge?
An open can of pumpkin will last less than a week in the fridge, about 5-7 days max. To be safe, use your refrigerated, opened pumpkin within 3 days.
For this reason, if you don’t plan on using up all of your pumpkin within a few days, we recommend freezing it.
If you’re only left with a little bit of pumpkin that you know you won’t use in time, pop it in an ice cube tray for quick and convenient future use!
How long does canned pumpkin last in the freezer?
The best part about freezing canned pumpkin is that, when properly frozen, it lasts considerably longer than if you were to store it in the fridge.
Frozen canned pumpkin lasts about 3 months, so even if you weren’t able to use up all of that pumpkin for your pie around Thanksgiving time, you can enjoy pumpkin smoothies or bake hearty and warming pumpkin bread well into the new year.
Can you cook pumpkin from frozen?
Canned pumpkin should not be cooked while still frozen. Most of the recipes that call for canned pumpkin require beating or blending the pumpkin in with other ingredients, something that would be impossible to do if it were still frozen.
You should always thaw frozen pumpkin before using.
The only exception to using canned pumpkin while still frozen would be blending it into a smoothie. You can use little frozen cubes of canned pumpkin in place of ice when preparing a creamy and delicious fall smoothie.
How can you tell if frozen pumpkin has gone bad?
As we mentioned, your canned pumpkin should be safe for up to a week in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
However, if it smells funny or has become discolored, you are better off tossing your pumpkin and opening a new can.
How can I use canned pumpkin?
Aside from the typical pumpkin pie that almost all of us have on our tables for Thanksgiving, canned pumpkin can actually be used in a variety of creative recipes, both savory and sweet.
If you’re looking for a savory dish, stir some canned pumpkin into turkey pumpkin chili, mix it into your mac and cheese, or even try your hand at pumpkin hummus.
When it comes to pumpkin desserts, ditch the pie and turn to pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or cranberry pumpkin bread. Pumpkin pancakes are a delicious fall breakfast, as is pumpkin spice oatmeal, or consider jazzing up your morning toast with homemade pumpkin butter.
Finally, as we’re all aware, pumpkin makes great drinks, such as Pumpkin Spice Lattes. You can make homemade coffee creamer with canned pumpkin and even try a fall-themed pumpkin chai tea latte.
When it comes to cooking with canned pumpkin, the opportunities are endless!
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