How to Store Pumpkin Puree (Plus Ideas for Using Leftovers)

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Pumpkin puree is an essential ingredient in many tasty dishes, particularly ones that are popular in the fall and during the holiday season.

In a perfect world, all of your recipes would call for exactly the amount of pumpkin puree that you find in a standard can, but unfortunately, that just isnt the case.

Lets look at some of the best ways to store leftover pumpkin puree. We will also provide some creative and delectable ways to use it up!

What Is Pumpkin Puree?

How to Store Pumpkin Puree (Plus Ideas for Using Leftovers)

Lets quickly clarify what we mean by pumpkin puree. Its pretty simple: pumpkin puree is just cooked pumpkin that has been thoroughly blended in a food processor to create a thick, smooth paste.

Pumpkin puree is made out of the flesh of the pumpkin, which is the part attached to the outside skin. If you buy canned pumpkin puree, it will likely contain some other similar plants, such as squash, but this wont impact the taste or how you use it.

What Is the Difference Between Pumpkin Puree and Canned Pumpkin?

How to Store Pumpkin Puree (Plus Ideas for Using Leftovers)

There really is no difference between these two in cooking; if your recipe calls for one, you can use the other with no problem. The only difference is that canned pumpkin is pumpkin puree that has been preserved in a can, while pumpkin puree in general could be stored in any kind of container or made fresh.

What Is Pumpkin Puree Used for?

There are tons of uses for pumpkin puree! Here are a few examples:

  • Pumpkin pie the quintessential use!
  • Pumpkin cheesecake
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Pumpkin curry
  • Pumpkin butter
  • Pumpkin ice cream
  • Pumpkin fudge

These are just a handful of our personal favorites. Let your creative juices flow by finding a recipe that sounds good to you and your family.

How to Store Unopened Pumpkin Puree

You most likely purchased your pumpkin puree in a can. As you probably know, canning is a terrific method of preserving food that has been used since the early 1800s.

Cans of pumpkin puree come with an expiration date, but you can use it even once that date has passed as long as the can is not opened or damaged. Dates on cans usually pertain to quality rather than safety; that said, if you pass the expiration date, it might not taste as good.

Store all canned goods in a cool, dry place. Your kitchen cabinets or pantry are fine, as would be the garage; avoid any place where the cans are going to be in sunlight.

How to Store Leftover Pumpkin Puree

As soon as you open your can of pumpkin puree, it will begin to deteriorate, just as with all canned goods. There are two ways to store leftover pumpkin puree.

The first is in the fridge. Put the leftover puree in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge until youre ready to use it.

You should use refrigerated pumpkin puree within one week. Be sure to smell it and taste a little bit of it first to make sure that it hasnt gone bad.

The other way to store it is in the freezer, where it will last a lot longer up to a year. Again, use an airtight container; we recommend a plastic freezer bag because you can squeeze all of the air out of it.

To defrost, put the pumpkin puree in the refrigerator overnight. It should be nice and soft by morning.

Alternatively, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave. Just dont leave it on your kitchen counter; room temperature defrosting allows too many bacteria to grow on food, and it can become unsafe to eat.

What About Homemade Pumpkin Puree?

In recent years, pumpkin-flavored foods have exploded as people have rediscovered the nutritional qualities and delicious taste of this vegetable. Whether you grow them in your garden or buy them at a market, pumpkin puree is one of the easiest ways to enjoy pumpkins.

Homemade pumpkin puree is a great way to use those decorative pumpkins that you bought for the fall. One quick note of caution: dont make pumpkin puree from jack-o-lanterns; since their flesh has sat open and exposed to the elements, it just isnt a good idea.

Storing homemade pumpkin puree works in much the same way as storing opened canned pumpkin puree. In the refrigerator, store in an airtight container and use within one week.

In the freezer, store in a freezer bag and defrost when ready to use, ideally within a year.

One freezing idea that we love for homemade pumpkin puree (or leftover canned) is to freeze it in ice trays. That way, you can defrost just a little bit at a time to use whenever you want it.

Since store-bought pumpkin puree usually comes in a can, is it a smart idea to can homemade pumpkin puree? Unfortunately, probably not: it is not recommended in the US Department of Agricultures Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Finally, dont forget about your pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds can be salted and roasted for an absolutely delicious snack that is packed in protein, not to mention omega-6 fatty acids, iron, Vitamin A, and more.

Can Pumpkin Puree Be Composted?

Composting is a terrific alternative when you dont have any other uses for leftover foods such as pumpkin. Usually pumpkin puree can be composted as long as it doesnt have added ingredients; if it does, check to see if those can be composted before throwing it onto your pile.

Pumpkins in general are also packed with good stuff that makes them a great fertilizer, so it is a very good thing to add to your compost pile.

Composting can also be a great way to dispose of carved pumpkins, especially when compared to throwing them in the trash. Even if you dont compost, you can leave your carved pumpkins in a heavily wooded area for animals to eat (dont put them too close to your house or any other inhabited structure, since they will attract bugs and other creatures).

Other Ideas for Using Leftover Pumpkin Puree

We already listed just a few of the hundreds of uses for pumpkin puree above. Any one of those are great ideas for using leftover pumpkin puree.

That said, you might not have enough left over to make an entirely new pumpkin-centered dish. Try one of these ideas if you just have part of a can left.

Add it to a yogurt parfait or oatmeal. Pumpkin has a ton of essential vitamins and minerals, so add it to these breakfast dishes for a boost of nutrition to start your day.

Make a pumpkin smoothie. Another breakfast option: why not make a pumpkin smoothie? It tastes great when blended with banana and Greek yogurt.

Make a drink. Pumpkin tastes yummy with spiced rum especially, and it makes a festive holiday or autumn drink.

Make your own pumpkin spice latte. As long as were talking about drinks, we cant ignore the pumpkin spice latte; try making it at home.

Make some dog goodies. Pumpkin isnt just healthy for humans, but for dogs as well! Mix the puree with peanut butter and oats and bake until set and crispy; bonus if you have a dog bone-shaped cookie cutter to use!

There are so many uses for pumpkin puree that there is no reason for any of it to go to waste. Proper storage means that you can safely use all of it, and enjoy lots of pumpkin treats!


Can you save pumpkin puree after opening can?

Refrigerate leftover pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin in an airtight container. It will remain there for a week. If you don’t think you can use up your pumpkin within that time, you can freeze it for up to a year. Seal it up in a zip-top freezer bag (be sure to label it) and toss it into the freezer.

Can you keep leftover pumpkin puree?

Pumpkin puree can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Before storing, always remove any leftover puree from the can and place it in a glass or plastic container with a tight fitting lid. You can also store pumpkin puree in freezer bags. To save space, lay the bags on a baking tray until frozen.

Can you freeze pumpkin puree in mason jars?

To freeze, we divvy up our homemade pumpkin puree into usable portions in freezer-safe containers. When freezing in glass jars, be sure to choose freezer-safe wide mouth jars (no shoulders!), use pint size or smaller, and heed the “fill line” – leaving at least a half inch of head space.

How do you store canned pumpkin once opened?

To maximize the shelf life of canned or packaged pumpkin after opening, refrigerate in a covered glass or plastic container. How long will an opened can of pumpkin keep in the refrigerator? Pumpkin that has been continuously refrigerated will keep for about 5 to 7 days.

How do you can and preserve pumpkin puree?

Follow this seven-step pumpkin canning process:
Cut open the pumpkin.
Empty the insides.
Chop up the pumpkin flesh.
Blanch the pumpkin pieces.
Place the pumpkin in heated jars.
Add the jars to a pressure cooker.
Cool the jars and store them.

How long does pumpkin puree last in the fridge after thawing?

If you thaw the pumpkin puree in the refrigerator, which is the recommended way, you have an additional 3-4 days to store it in the refrigerator and use it.

How long does pumpkin puree last in a Mason jar?

Pumpkin Puree Storage

There are few ways to store pumpkin puree for fresh and safe usage later. Jars that had been opened would be consumed within a week. Canned twice-boiled pumpkin puree in sterilized jars can be stored in refrigerator for up to a year. Baked pumpkin should be stored only 3 months in refrigerator.

Can dogs eat pumpkin puree?

Plain, canned pumpkin is the healthiest choice for your dog. Both fresh and canned pumpkin are good sources of nutrients and fiber, but canned pumpkin contains a higher concentration of fiber and nutrients compared to fresh pumpkin.

How healthy is pumpkin puree?

Pumpkin, like many fruits, is high in fiber. Canned pumpkin contains 7 grams of fiber per one-cup serving. Fiber is beneficial for removing cholesterol from the body, keeping blood sugars from spiking and helping regulate bowel habits. In addition, fiber also helps us to feel fuller longer.

How do you thaw frozen pumpkin puree?

Thawing Canned Pumpkin

The easiest way to do this is to let the puree thaw overnight in the fridge. If you froze the pumpkin in an ice tray, those portions should thaw in just a few hours or less. If you’re in rush, you can thaw frozen pumpkin in the microwave on the defrost setting.

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