I have waited all year to come back to this place, in this season, where I could put my year long experience as a Master Food Preserver into great pressure canned jars. I have waited for the squash, the holiday pumpkins, and my favorite sweet potatoes and make a few jars to inspire others to work on their own fall canning.
Each of the recipes I made in quart size jars, but they can also be done in pints.
The Pie Pumpkin, which is a smaller and I think sweeter version than the “Jack-O-Lantern” pumpkins, was de-seeded and peeled using a veggie peeler. The skin of this pumpkin was very thin and easy to get off with the strokes of the peeler. I also cubed the pumpkin, par-boiled for 2 minutes, and filled the sterilized hot jars with the cubes. I covered the pumpkin with the boiling liquid to the proper 1″ headspace.
The Delicata squash was peeled and de-seeded and cut into 1″ cubes (as best one can). I then par-boiled for 2 minutes, filled the hot jars and covered with the boiling liquid to the proper headspace.
The last winter staple in my house, the sweet potato, was also peeled and cubed, and pre-cooked till they were partially tender. Filling the quart jars, I had enough left of the pumpkin and the sweet potato to fill another jar in combination since they have the same processing time in the quart size jars. I added fresh boiling water (to 1″ headspace) and a teaspoon of cinnamon to the combination quart to see if the flavor will come through.
After I was done filling the jars I placed the quarts into the pressure canner with the proper amount of water at the bottom of the canner, approximately 2 inches. One of the things I want to make sure that pressure canners remember is the next step which is venting. Once you have put that lid on the pot you want to allow the steam and heat to build in the chamber so that when you do bring it up to pressure you have a proper temperature inside. Make sure to let the canner vent for the full 10 minutes.
Here are the recipes for each one. Because I did all the produce in quart size jars it allowed me one pressure canning time and the same amount of pounds of pressure. If you are going to do these in pints please follow the directions for each recipe based on their individual processing times.
Pie Pumpkins & Winter Squash (butternut, delicata, acorn)
These are from the National Center for Home Preserving website.
Quality: Pumpkins and squash should have a hard rind and stringless, mature pulp of ideal quality for cooking fresh. Small size pumpkins (sugar or pie varieties) make better products.
For why we say not to mash or puree the squash, read more about the caution.
Procedure: Wash, remove seeds, cut into 1-inch- wide slices, and peel. Cut flesh into 1-inch cubes. Boil 2 minutes in water. Caution: Do not mash or puree. Fill jars with cubes and cooking liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace.
For making pies, drain jars and strain or sieve cubes.
It is not recommended to dry pack sweet potatoes.
Quality: Choose small to medium-sized potatoes. They should be mature and not too fibrous. Can within 1 to 2 months after harvest.
Procedure: Wash potatoes and boil or steam until partially soft (15 to 20 minutes). Remove skins. Cut medium potatoes, if needed, so that pieces are uniform in size. Caution: Do not mash or puree pieces. Fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Cover with your choice of fresh boiling water or syrup, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Adjustments for Altitude:
Canning food safely requires your filled jars to be processed at a specified temperature or pressure level for a specified amount of time. If you live at altitudes higher than 1,000 or 2,000 feet above sea level, adjust your canning recipes for food safety.