What do you do with stolen pumpkins? You get rid of the evidence. What’s the best way to do that? You make something delicious out of it and share it with your friends and family. In my last post, I made pumpkin soup, but I had leftover pumpkin. As a Portuguese living in America, it still surprises me how much pumpkin spice flavor is in everything at this time of year (the most recent one I’ve seen is dog food). And yet, there’s not a lot of actual pumpkin being used in cooking. Your jack o’lantern “waste” will become your favorite part of the pumpkin because it’ll allow you to impress your friends with this recipe…
Pumpkin Jam. Yes, Jam: the one pumpkin product the USA failed to produce. Don’t worry, Portugal’s got you covered.
Doce de Abóbora / Pumpkin Jam
Makes approximately 1.1 kg (2.4 lbs) of jam
1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) of pumpkin
1 kg (2.2 lbs) of granulated sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1. Cut the pumpkin meat (no skin, stringy parts or seeds) into small cubes measuring about 2 cm (3/4″).
2. Measure out the pumpkin and sugar and set to one side.
3. Peel the lemon zest, cut the lemon in half and set to one side.
1. Place the pumpkin cubes, the sugar and the cinnamon sticks in a deep pot on a low heat.
2. Add the lemon zest and squeeze a little lemon juice into the ingredients, making sure to not let any seeds fall in.
3. Give the ingredients a little stir and leave the pot uncovered. After a while, the sugar will melt and the pumpkin, cinnamon sticks and the lemon peel will appear to be swimming in water. Turn up the heat to a medium-low heat.
4. It will take a couple of hours for the contents to reduce and for the pumpkin to soften entirely, so just check on it and stir the “pre-jam” (I’m about 50% sure that’s the correct terminology for it) occasionally. While you’re waiting for it to reduce, sterilize your jars (lots of online tutorials for this).
5. When the “pre-jam” has reduced to about 50% of the volume, remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon zest. Reduce stove to a low heat. Then, blend it all together using an immersion blender (or any other blender).
6. Put the pot back on the heat and stir it every few minutes at this point. You’ll know the jam is ready when you run a wooden spoon along the bottom and it forms a little trail showing the bottom of the pot before the jam falls back on it (see video below).
7. Turn off the stove and let cool for 20 minutes. Pour jam into the sterilized jars and screw on the lids. Then, place the jars in a large pot of hot water (coming up to about halfway up the jars) and bring to the boil. Let boil for 10-15 minutes and remove the jars from the water. This should vacuum seal the jars for cupboard store.
8. Decorate, gift, eat! If you want to jazz things up, add in chopped walnuts into the jam, which is very typical in Portugal.
Portuguese people love eating pumpkin jam with requeijão. I’m still trying to find requeijão in this country so I’ve come up with a list of ways to enjoy pumpkin jam abroad:
- On bagels, with cream cheese
- On scones with a cup of tea
- In a lettuce, baby spinach and goat’s cheese salad (replacing a vinaigrette)
- In a sandwich, with a sharp cheddar cheese or manchego
- As a filling in a cake (think Victoria sponge cake but instead of strawberry jam use pumpkin and instead of regular sponge use a poppyseed batter).
If you come up with other suggestions, please let me know! I’d love to hear them.