This Pumpkin Jam post is written by my blogging friend, Rachel, of Rachel’s Ruminations. Rachel lives in The Netherlands.
It’s the autumn vacation here in Groningen, and do I get a vacation? Nope. I’ve been working hard: writing tests and answer keys and other such tasks. It’s the life of a teacher.
So forgive me a few moments of procrastination today to tell you about what I did this weekend: I made fresh pumpkin jam.
I should point out that my yearly blackberry jam-making domestic goddess of the last several years will not emerge again. The bushes in the vacant lot on the corner, my source of blackberries, have been torn down to make room for a row of houses.
I bought the pumpkin weeks ago from a farm stand, and it’s been sitting on my dining room table ever since. It drew quizzical expressions and comments whenever anyone visited because it was unlike any pumpkin we’ve ever seen before. As a matter of fact, I’m not actually sure it was a pumpkin or whether it should be categorized as a squash. Anyway, it was huge and heavy and black and bumpy.
I can’t give you a recipe for this pumpkin jam. I looked up recipes and then made one up of my own, but I didn’t measure anything. In any case, apparently, it’s not recommended to make jam from pumpkins because it’s hard to keep it safe. It has to be kept refrigerated even before it’s opened and eaten relatively quickly. For that reason, all of the jars I produced are crammed into my fridge, and I’m giving them away as fast as I can.
How I Made Pumpkin Jam
To give you a general idea, here’s what I did:
I cut it up in large chunks (Okay, to be honest, my son did it for me because I couldn’t get the knife through it.) and scraped out the seeds and strings.
I baked the chunks in the oven at 180C for about an hour and a half. This was done twice because all the chunks wouldn’t fit into my biggest baking dish.
I scraped the pumpkin out into a pot, added a little water and cooked it. Then I used a hand blender to make a puree of it and cooked it some more.
I added the juice of about four lemons, I think, and most of a bag of gelling sugar (that has pectin in it).
I let this simmer for a while, and then, lastly, I added cardamom and cloves. These spices are what gives it a lovely, dark, autumnal kind of flavor.
Of course, I did the whole boiling-the-jam-pots-filling-them-capping-them-tightly-and-boiling-them-some-more routine. I had to do that in two rounds too because my biggest pot couldn’t accommodate so many jam jars.
That one pumpkin gave me a) three cups’ worth of cooked pumpkin for other recipes (pumpkin pie!), b) 11 jars of jam, and c) another whole bowl left after I’d run out of jam jars!
And by the way, does anyone know what this kind of pumpkin is called?