We planted Cinderella Pumpkins this year, an heirloom variety so named for its resemblance to the pumpkin Cinderella’s fairy godmother turned into a carriage. I saved the biggest one for us and our apprentices to preserve in any way we saw fit. Even though Cinderella pumpkins grow big, it’s still tasty, unlike the kinds of pumpkins we grow for Jack-o-Lanterns.
I choose this task for an open day when rainy cold weather wouldn’t tempt me to head outside, especially as I’m nursing a cold and probably should keep my activity on the lower end anyway. If you are pressure canning your pumpkin, plan to be in/near your kitchen for a good chunk of the day. It takes 80 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure to process in a pressure canner. (I’m currently writing this in the dining room so I can keep an eye on the pressure canner doing the rest of the preservation work.)
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial that works for any cooking pumpkin–whether you are freezing the pumpkin in baggies, or canning it.
1. Crack or saw open the pumpkin. If its small enough to fit in your oven (this one was not–in fact I could only cook half of it at a time), you could opt to cook it whole and clean out the insides once its cooked. I’ve put big squashes in black plastic bags and thrown them on cement floor, which works well. Mark sawed this one into quarters, which made it easier to run 1/4th of it down to Lisby and Jon this morning.
3. Bake at 325˚ on a cookie sheet with a lip or in a 9×13 pan. Putting a bit of water in the pan will help keep the pumpkin from sticking. Bake until the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork and/or it begins to collapse. It will collapse more outside the oven as it cools.
5. Drain the puree in a colander, saving the juice, which is delicious and makes for a great vegetable soup stock. This pumpkin gave up two quarts of juice. I took 1/2 cup, added 1/2 c. apple cider, a teaspoon of maple syrup (not really necessary given the apple cider), and a dash of cinnamon and allspice and imagined I was drinking the pumpkin juice served at Hogswarts.
6. Put puree into jars (or freezer bags), and either pressure can or freeze.