Pumpkin Preserve

Pumpkin Preserve

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This really old recipe is delicious and perfect to make at this time of the year! It’s great on toast or even biscuits. Try adding diced orange and the lemon if you fancy a few “chunks” of peel.

What you need

8 cups cubed peeled pumpkin (1/2 inch cubes)
4 cups granulated sugar
1 lemon
5 whole cloves

What to do

Layer pumpkin with sugar in a large bowl.

Cover and let stand overnight, stirring once or twice.

Next day, drain juice off of pumpkin into saucepan.

Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.

Add pumpkin pieces, grated rind and chopped pulp of the lemon.

Add cloves (tied in a cheesecloth bag).

Cook on a slow boil for 40 minutes, or until pumpkin is clear and the mixture sheets from a spoon.

That’s it!

Making Jam…

Making jam is very easy. All you really need is fruit, sugar and jars. If you’re using high pectin fruit (blackcurrants, redcurrants, cooking apples, damsons, quinces, gooseberries and some plums), you’re good to go. Other fruits with less pectin (e.g. blackberries, cherries, elderberries, pears, rhubarb, strawberries and medlars) need a helping hand – either through the addition of other high-pectin fruit (e.g. apples) or commercial pectin, which you can buy.

Before you start, sterilise your jars (see below) and put a plate in the freezer to chill. Boil up half your fruit, sieve out seeds if you have (Tip: use a wooden spoon), and return to pan. Add the sugar and gently heat and add other half of your fruit. Boil rapidly for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and drop a little jam onto the chilled plate. Now push your finger through it – it should wrinkle and look like jam. If it doesn’t, boil for 2 mins, then test again.

The usual fruit-sugar ratio is 1:1, but it’s fun to have a play with this, and add in a mystery ingredient or two, once you’ve got some confidence.


Tips for sterilising your jars

Sterilised jam jarsThe easy way? Empty your sink, and wash it out well. Plug in the bung, open your jars and sit them in the sink, along with the lids. Boil the kettle, and fill the jars and lids with boiling water (depending how many jars you have, you’ll likely have to do this a number of times).

Use your oven gloves to pour out the hot water, and then set them on a rack to dry whilst you make the jam. The whole process fits in well between stirring, so you don’t stalk your jam/chutney too much whilst it’s cooking.