Pumpkin jam is something you easily find in Portugal. Rich orange glass jars fill the aisles of any proper grocery store. The jam can be plain with just a hint of lemon or orange juice but routinely walnuts or almonds are added in the process. I started making pumpkin jam each fall when I could not locate it anywhere in the island.
A word of caution (and likely the reason why pumpkin jam is not commercially available in these parts of the world), the USDA does not recommend canning pumpkin in boiling water bath process. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable so botulism concerns are warranted. High levels of sugar, salt and acidity prevent or slow bacterial growth. In this recipe, more sugar than I like to admit is used and the juice of two lemons is added but I never measured the pH of the final product. To be safe, I still keep the jars in the fridge after being processed. Botulism cannot be seen or smelled so if you are at all concern just eat the jam within a few weeks of making it. On a lighter note, last year I was spreading this jam on Georgetown Bakery bagels 6 months after it was made and no hostile symptoms emerged.
- 2 kg pumpkin pulp cut in cubes
- 1.6 kg brown sugar
- a bit of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons (this time I used one lemon and an orange)
- In a large pot, combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon stick and a bit of water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often.
- Once pumpkin is soft and cooked (about an hour) add ground cinnamon. Simmer for 15 min more. Remove from heat, stir in lemon zest and juice, and with a hand blender blend to jam consistency.
- While the jam is cooking, prepare canner, sterilize jars and screw rings. For the lids, place them in a small saucepan filled with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and set the pan aside.
- Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a non-metallic spatula and adjust headspace as necessary by adding hot jam. Wipe rim clean with a damp cloth and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 15 minutes but remember to adjust for altitude. Remove jars and let stand for at least 24 hours on a towel-lined surface. Check lids and refrigerate or reprocess any jars that aren’t sealed.
- Label and date the jars.