Can You Freeze Canned Pumpkin?

It's a rite of passage to make some sort of pumpkin dessert during the holiday season. Of course, pumpkin pie is a classic at Thanksgiving dinner, but the possibilities don't end there. Puréed pumpkin can also be used to give your French toast a festive fall twist, make pumpkin spice cupcakes, and whip up a batch of irresistible pumpkin spice waffles. Naturally, that means that you'll need to buy canned pumpkin, and unsurprisingly, the most popular time of the year to buy it is during those festive months. According to AdWeek, 90% of pumpkin purée is sold between October and January.

Sadly, pumpkins are not always put to good use. In 2014, about 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins were thrown away in the U.S., a little more than half of the total pumpkins grown that year (via Science Alert). And besides amounting to an absurd amount of waste, trashing pumpkins is quite bad for the environment. Keep Austin Fed notes that about 8.3 pounds of the greenhouse gas, methane, are generated for every hundred pounds of discarded pumpkins.

So if you finish your pumpkin concoction but have some purée left in the can, how can you repurpose it? The answer may be easier than you think.

Frozen pumpkin can last for a year

Storing extra food in the freezer is a tried-and-true method of preventing food waste, and it turns out you can do it with pumpkin too. According to Taste of Home, canned pumpkin can be kept frozen for up to a year. You can either scoop it in a sealable plastic bag, or divvy it up into ice cube trays or muffin tins for smaller portions. Southern Living suggests that you don't freeze it in the can, however, as it can explode and cover your freezer walls.

Defrosting pumpkin purée is pretty similar to thawing meat. The easiest way, Foods Guy shares, is to leave it in the fridge the night before you want to use it. However, if you didn't think that far ahead, you can also defrost it in the microwave or let it thaw in water like you would with frozen chicken. Once it's thawed out, Southern Living notes that some of the liquid may have separated from the purée — be sure to drain it out so you don't end up with watery pumpkin.

While it is completely possible to freeze your canned pumpkin, there are a plethora of other ways you can use up those last few spoonfuls; Taste of Home recommends adding it to recipes like cookies, that don't require much of it. Or, include your pup in the holiday celebrations, as pumpkin can help with canine digestive issues.