Traditional recipes

Pumpkin preserve recipe

Pumpkin preserve recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Jam

This is an old favourite from the Maritime Provinces in Canada. I've spoken with seniors, though, who fondly remember eating it straight from a dish! There are a few variations to the recipe - some of the more modern versions add canned pineapple (very good) or a few maraschino cherries for colour - but the basic formula is pumpkin, sugar, citrus fruit and cloves.

28 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 4 kg pumpkin preserve (approximately)

  • 3.5kg (8 lb) pumpkin
  • 1.3kg (3 lb) granulated sugar
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

MethodPrep:1hr ›Cook:1hr ›Extra time:8hr › Ready in:10hr

  1. Peel pumpkin and cut into small cubes, discarding the seeds. Put pumpkin into a large pot and pour over with the sugar. Cover and let sit overnight.
  2. The next morning, you should have a pot of pumpkin bits floating in a clear liquid. Finely slice and chop the oranges and lemons (rind and pulp, discarding any pips) and add to the pumpkin. Add cloves.
  3. Bring mixture to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin pieces become 'clear', i.e. they take on a more translucent appearance; you'll see it happening as they cook.
  4. Ladle hot into warm sterilised jars and seal.

Cook's notes

The size of your pumpkin pieces can be to your preference. Remember that the pumpkin will shrink as the sugar draws out the juice. (I don't cut them any smaller than 1/2 inch as I like a chunky end product.)
The pumpkin will not disintegrate to create a jam. This is more of a 'pieces suspended in syrup' product.
This recipe is very flexible. Measurements of the other ingredients can be adjusted to the size of pumpkin available, e.g. if you have a 2.7kg (6 lb). pumpkin, then you can reduce the fruit to four pieces and the sugar by 1/4 measure. You can also adjust the citrus to your preference i.e. some use more orange than lemon; some, only lemon.
Oh, and stick with a 'pie pumpkin', 8 lb being the maximum recommended size; the big ones sold for Hallowe'en are often too fibrous to make a good preserve - I found that out the hard way!

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (2)

It looks like the only way I can reply at this time is through the review option (and I feel a bit silly giving my own recipe a rating, but given that it's an old favourite, 5 stars it is...). Hello SheilaKell. A hot water bath will work just fine. To be honest, when I make preserves/pickles/ etc., I just pour boiling water into my clean jars, right to the rims, and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before pouring out the water; Similarly, I immerse all tools (e.g. the ladle) and the jar lids (the self-sealing kind like the Bernadine brand) in boiling water for a good ten minutes before using. If I have to use a jar with a lid that doesn't self-seal, then I seal my preserves with melted paraffin wax before capping the jars. I've never had an issue with spoilage. ^_^-11 Nov 2015

Thanks for posting this recipe. I grew up with "pumpkin preserves" and have tried to replicate the recipe. Mom sometimes added oranges and lemons, but not always. I can see that they would add acidity and help with preservation. My question is: does this amount of added citrus make it safe to use a water bath method of canning the pumpkin preserves? Do you recommend pressure canning?-08 Nov 2015


Pumpkin Pie Jam

Whizz up your leftover Halloween Pumpkin and make Pumpkin Pie Jam. Laced with pumpkin pie spice and a touch of ginger – a taste of Autumn all year round! Great with cheese, use as an ingredient in your baking and make pumpkin pie, cupcakes, muffins or cookies.

I used to make Pumpkin Pie Jam for our local Christmas Fayre when we lived in France and ever since a jar usually finds its way into our Christmas hampers. Isn’t it a beautiful colour ? I gave a pumpkin pie recipe with each jar of jam and it sold out before anything else. ( Pumpkin Pie recipe is below the main jam recipe )


Halve the pumpkin and remove and discard the seeds. Carefully remove the fibers from the center of the pumpkin and reserve. Peel the pumpkin and cut it into small chunks.

In a saucepan, combine the pumpkin chunks and 1 cup of the water, bring to a boil over high heat, boil for 1 minute, and remove from the heat. Drain the pumpkin well, place in a bowl, and add the reserved fibers, the sugar, and the citrus zests. Mix well, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.

Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a nonreactive sauce-pan and add the remaining ½਌up water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin chunks have broken down and the fibers are no longer stringy and are fully incorporated.

Remove from the heat. Let cool, transfer to jars with tight-fitting lids, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Marmellata di Zucca (Pumpkin jam)

The Fall is a season full of colors and flavors, also in the kitchen: it’s funny, because many consider it the season when Nature stops actively giving, but this is far from true. Nature, in the Fall, offers a bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables, the taste and scent of which bring to us the comforting sensation of warm evenings spent at home, chit chatting with family and friends.

I think there’s little as quintessentially autumnal as pumpkin. Now, you guys in the States make single-handedly the best pumpkin pie on the face of earth, but we Italians also have a couple of aces up our sleeves, when it comes to it. Here, we’ll present you a simple recipe to make pumpkin jam, a lovely, heartwarming jam with spicy hints, which brings back memories of childhood “merende” in the form of the lovely “crostate” (tarts) Piedmontese mums used to make.

Pumpkin jam in very versatile, as you can use it to make, as said, “crostate,” as a filling for cookies or croissants, but also as a side for Italian salumi and mature, strong cheeses. You could also just have it on a slice of homemade bread or, quite simply, spoon it out of the jar!

Photo by Bruno Cordioli/flickr


Pumpkin Preserves

Pieces of pumpkin are transformed into sweet and glistening amber-colored jewels in this recipe for Pumpkin Preserves. Interestingly crunchy outside and creamy inside, you’ll want to replace your ordinary breakfast table preserves with these little gems.

This recipe comes directly from my Teta (grandmother) in Jordan. She used to make these preserves for us every time she visited the US and we just loved these puzzlingly crunchy, glassy, and spiced pumpkin cubes.

If you try to cube up some pumpkin and just boil them in syrup, the cell walls in the pumpkin will break down and you will end up with a mushy, liquid mess. For this reason, you’ll need a special ingredient to achieve the firmness in these preserves.

Calcium hydroxide (also known as pickling lime, slaked lime, or cal) is the secret to solidifying the sides of the pumpkin pieces and keeping them from disintegrating during boiling. Pickling lime is widely used in cooking to make things like crisp cucumber pickles and soft, malleable corn masa (in the process known as nixtamalization). It’s even used in some molecular gastronomy recipes as a firming agent and a pH modifier.

It’s also used in the construction industry for making things like mortar and plaster. Funnily, and somewhat unsettlingly, my grandmother would obtain her pickling lime powder by just walking to a nearby building construction site and asking the builders to fill her a bag of the white powder…

That’s probably not the recommended method of procuring this ingredient. Fortunately, pickling lime is easy to come by you can buy some here on Amazon or you can find it in Mexican grocery stores (ask for cal) or, more rarely, in large supermarkets.


Pumpkin jam: the tasty and versatile recipe

Pumpkin jam is a great preserve to prepare in autumn, when you can choose the best pumpkins of the season, a jam to taste on bread for breakfast or snack, but also good for preparing cakes, muffins, pies and more: it is in fact also excellent for accompanying savory dishes, especially cured meats, ricotta and aged cheeses. Pumpkin jam has a delicate flavor that can be flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, amaretto and nutmeg to make it even tastier. But here's how to prepare this delicious preserve to be consumed throughout the winter.


About Fresh Nutmeg

Before stumbling upon Aisha from The Sweetest Tooth in a Facebook group, I had no idea what fresh nutmegs looked like. Truth be told, when I buy dry spices, I never wonder how fresh they are, whether they are stale or where I can get fresh ones – short of living in tropical countries. Fortunately, Aisha’s grand-ma lives in Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, and she grows a few trees including nutmeg trees. Look at her, isn’t she fantastic? She’s holding a fruit from the legendary nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) whose early cultivation caused the Dutch East India Company to wage war against British tradesmen in the 17th century.

Aisha Dowlut’s grand-mother in her garden. Photo by Aisha Dowlut

Once you cut the fruit open, this is what fresh nutmegs look like.

Fresh nutmeg fruits cut open to reveal the inside. Photo by Aisha Dowlut

Who knew, right? The white flesh makes an excellent jam (from what I’ve read, I’ve never tasted it) and the core, once dried, becomes nutmeg you buy at the store in spice jars. The outer shell, the red film, dries up hard and becomes mace, a spice whose flavor is similar to nutmeg but more delicate. And finally, this is what Aisha sent me by post and that I store in a tea pot.

Aisha recommended that I use a nutracker to remove the dark outer skin (mace) and then use the inside nut as I would regular nutmeg. As I really wanted my pumpkin jam to be extra special this year, I used a hand-cranked cheese grater to grate a whole nut before adding it to my jam.

The beige grated stuff is Aisha’s grandma’s nutmeg. Pretty cool, right?


Freezing Pumpkin Learn all the tips and tricks for freezing pumpkin to extend the harvest. Learning how to freeze pumpkin in cubes or puree is a great way to preserve this wonderful ingredient without needing to know any special kitchen skills. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you snag a great deal on fresh pie pumpkins (often labeled as &ldquosugar pumpkins&rdquo or &ldquosmall sugar pie&rdquo), it is so simple to prep and freeze them for fantastic sweet and savory recipes. As long as you can cut a pumpkin and have a freezer, it is a cinch. Let&rsquos do this! I do have a recipe for canning pumpkin if you have a pressure canner and a bit more time to preserve your pumpkin. But I&rsquom also a huge fan of &ldquofreezing all the things&rdquo, so check out my How to Freeze Fresh Produce post for more helpful tutorials. How to make a pumpkin jam

There is no doubt that the Pumpkin Jam it is an ideal option when it comes to enjoying the pumpkin in its sweetest form, thus becoming a sweet way to preserve it and take advantage of it. It is very easy to do, as you will see in this recipe that we propose.

  • 1 kg of pumpkin
  • 500 gr of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Thickener (for example, agar-agar)
  1. Wash the pumpkin well, peel it, remove its seeds and cut it into small pieces with the help of a knife. Put some pieces of pumpkin in the bottom of the pan, alternating with layers of sugar.
  2. Squeeze the lemon to obtain its juice, add the tablespoon of lemon juice and let it macerate for 12 hours.
  3. After this time put the pumpkin to the fire and bring to a boil. Just when it starts to boil add 6 grams of agar-agar, cooking until the jam has obtained the consistency that you like.
  4. To finish, once it is ready, put the jam in glass jars, cover them and make the vacuum by turning them over, and reserving for a few hours.

Home Preserving Pumpkins

Pumpkins offer far more than a door-stop at Halloween. This season is also the prime time to find and use sugar or pie pumpkins, the best for cooking and baking. Pumpkin seeds from any pumpkin can also be dried and roasted.

Canning pumpkin butter or mashed or pureed pumpkin is NOT recommended.

Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash. In 1989, the USDA's Extension Service first published the Complete Guide to Home Canning that remains the basis of Extension recommendations today, found in the December 2009 revision. The only directions for canning pumpkin and winter squash are for cubed flesh. In fact, the directions for preparing the product include the statement, "Caution: Do not mash or puree."

Canning Cubed Pumpkin

Only pressure canning methods are recommended for canning cubed pumpkin. We have no properly researched directions to recommend for canning mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash, or pumpkin butter. To be safe, all low acid foods, including pumpkin, must be canned using tested pressure canning processes (Ensuring Safe Canned Foods). Older methods, such as boiling water canning for vegetables, oven canning and open-kettle canning, have been discredited and can be hazardous (Equipment and Methods Not Recommended from the USDA Complete Guide to Canning, 2009).

An average of 16 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts an average of 10 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints &ndash an average of 2¼ pounds per quart. 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. 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 cover cooking liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process following the USDA recommendations: http://www.homefoodpreservation.com/how/can_04/pumpkin_winter_squash.html.

Freezing Pumpkins

Freezing is the easiest way to preserve pumpkin, and it yields the best quality product. Select full-colored mature pumpkin with fine texture (not stringy or dry). Wash, cut into cooking-size sections and remove seeds. Cook until soft in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker, or in an oven. Remove pulp from rind and mash. To cool, place pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally (So Easy to Preserve, 2006). Pack into rigid containers leaving headspace, and freeze.

Drying Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds

Wash, peel, and remove fibers and seeds from pumpkin (or Hubbard squash) flesh. Cut into small, thin strips no more than one-inch wide by 1/8-inch thick. Blanch strips over steam for 3 minutes and dip briefly in cold water to stop the blanching action. There is no need to cool to room temperature prior to drying. Drain excess moisture. Dry the strips in an electric dehydrator until brittle.

Pumpkin also makes excellent dried vegetable leather. Purée cooked pumpkin and strain. Add honey and spices, and then dry on a home food dehydrator tray. http://www.homefoodpreservation.com/how/dry/veg_leathers.html.

Drying seeds and roasting seeds are two different processes. To dry, carefully wash pumpkin seeds to remove the clinging fibrous pumpkin tissue. Pumpkin seeds can be dried in the sun, in an electric dehydrator at 115-120°F for 1 to 2 hours, or in an oven on a very low, warm temperature only, for 3 to 4 hours. Stir them frequently to avoid scorching. Dried seeds should not be stored with any moisture left in them.

For more on storing dried vegetables, see recommendations here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/dry/pack_store.html .

To roast the seeds, take dried pumpkin seeds, toss with oil and/or salt and roast in a preheated oven at 250°F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pickling Pumpkin

Pumpkin can be used in pickled recipes such as salsas, chutneys, and relishes however, your recipes for these must be treated as fresh prepared foods and kept refrigerated. We do not have tested recipes and procedures to recommend for safely canning these types of products by either the boiling water or pressure canning method.

Pumpkin Preserves

Gelled preserves rely on the natural acidity present in most fruits for safe food preservation. Most fruits have natural acids so resulting jams or jellies can be safely canned in a boiling water bath process. Pumpkin, however, is a low acid vegetable and cannot be safely canned in the boiling water bath process. A jam or sweetened preserve would have to have enough sugar and/or added acid to be treated safely without concerns about botulism. A certain acidity level is also required to cause the pectin molecule to form a gel structure. The USDA and Georgia Cooperative Extension currently do not have any tested recipes to recommend for safely canning pumpkin preserves (jams, jellies, conserves, or pumpkin butter) and storing them at room temperature. These pumpkin products must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and treated the same as fresh pumpkin.

Think Safety

Think safety when planning to preserve pumpkins. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable and requires special attention to preparation and processing. Use excellent sanitation in handling the fresh or preserved pumpkin. Do not let cut pumpkin sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours during preparation prior to preserving. We have no properly researched procedures to recommend for home canning of pumpkin butters or pickled pumpkin products such as salsas, chutneys and relishes recipes you try should be served immediately or stored under refrigeration at all times.