You Should Freeze Your Leftover Canned Pumpkin

Autumn is around the corner, meaning we're slowly retiring our summer recipes in exchange for meals that complement cooler weather. Among the many autumnal recipes there are to choose from, there's one quintessential ingredient that truly represents the fall season: pumpkin.

If you're an expert, you might make your pumpkin dishes and drinks from whole pumpkins. But if you enjoy the ease of trouble-free recipes, canned pumpkin is a great choice. However, you may run into a recipe that only calls for a small amount of pumpkin, leaving you with a half-full can. Once you've opened a can of pumpkin, it only lasts in the fridge for up to seven days. But when you freeze it, it stays fresh for up to three months.

Not only does storing leftover canned pumpkin in the freezer increase its longevity, but it also helps you measure portions for future recipes. You can transfer the pumpkin into ice cube trays, muffin tins, or quart-sized plastic baggies, then use only as much as your next pumpkin-based recipe calls for.

Unless you're using it in a smoothie, you'll want to thaw the frozen pumpkin before adding it to your next dish. You can let it thaw overnight in the fridge, but if you're short on time you can place your storage container in a shallow bowl of warm water to expedite the process. The fastest way to thaw frozen pumpkin is by microwaving it, but be careful, as this can lead to a change in texture.

Ways to use frozen pumpkin

If you've never frozen pumpkin before, you may not know exactly how to use it. But don't worry, it's as easy as using pumpkin straight out of the can. 

One classic fall recipe worth trying is pumpkin soup. Use the frozen pumpkin puree as a base for a creamy pumpkin soup and add spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger for extra flavor. When adding frozen pumpkin to soup, thawing isn't a requirement — you can add it straight to the cauldron and let it melt into the pot.

For a fall-inspired breakfast, you can thaw out your frozen pumpkin and add a dash to pancake or waffle batter. Thaw a little extra and use the remains for dinner by making a creamy pasta sauce with heavy cream, tomato sauce, herbs, and grated cheese for a rich, autumnal meal that everyone will love.

You can even use frozen pumpkin to make cold alcoholic beverages with an earthy, sweet, and creamy kick. Frozen pumpkin also makes for an excellent dog treat. The next time you have leftover canned pumpkin, don't let it go to waste — store it in the freezer instead.