I am re-sharing this blog entry (which was first published to my food blog on December 1, 2012) as part of the Canadian Food Experience project which began on June 7, 2013. The October 2013 theme is “Preserving: Our Canadian Food Tradition”. I do a lot of pickling and preserving each fall and pumpkin jam is a favorite. It’s surprisingly easy to make, taking very few ingredients, all of which are very common and easy to find.
As we (project participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice.
This year seemed to be a particularly good year for growing pumpkins on the Island. Everywhere I looked I saw fields, bins, and wagons full of the bright orange pumpkins which are members of the gourd family.
Funny how we can’t wait to display them on our doorsteps and in fall displays but, once the end of November arrives, we don’t want to see pumpkins hanging around as thoughts turn to Christmas decorating.
So, wondering what to do with those pumpkins instead of throwing them into the compost bin? Why not make a batch of old-fashioned pumpkin jam. This isn’t an altogether common jam you are likely to find on many supermarket shelves. Yet, it is a very tasty, economical, and versatile jam that only takes four ingredients — pumpkin, sugar, crushed pineapple, and jello. This is a jam that my grandmother used to make every fall for her brother yet I don’t recall it ever being on her own pantry shelves and I’m not sure why.
The jam has a wonderful bright orange-yellow color. In fact, I think it is more like a marmalade than a jam. Regardless, it is very tasty on toast, biscuits, as a filling for cookies, and as a dollop on warm vanilla custard.
Pumpkin jam also makes a wonderful Christmas gift. Add a batch of freshly made biscuits, package it attractively, and it makes an ideal gift for the foodie on your Christmas list or for that someone who has everything and wants no more knick-knacks to clutter up his or her life.
To make the jam, select a pumpkin that is more oblong than round in shape. I visited my local vegetable stand and they told me these are “jamming” pumpkins.
Cut the pumpkin open and remove and discard the seeds and pulp.
Cut the pumpkin flesh into finely diced pieces and place in pot.
Add the sugar to the diced pumpkin and let the mixture sit overnight. The sugar will draw the juice out of the pumpkin.
In the morning, drain and reserve the juice from the pumpkin.
Boil the juice for 20 minutes over medium heat to form a syrup.
Add the drained pumpkin to the hot syrup.
Over medium heat, cook the pumpkin until it starts to become transparent, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Add the can of crushed pineapple and its juice to the jam.
Add the jello to the jam.
Bring jam to a boil over medium heat.
Meanwhile, sterilize the jars.
Fill the sterilized jars.
Place warmed lids on the hot jam bottles to seal and fingertip-tighten the rims to the bottles.
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By December 1, 2012Published:
- Yield: Apx. 6 1/2 cups
A colorful, moderately sweet, versatile jam
- 9 cups pumpkin, finely diced
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 14 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 pkg orange or lemon jello
- Cut, peel, remove and discard seeds and pulp of pumpkin. Cut pumpkin into small diced pieces.
- Place diced pumpkin in large pot. Add sugar. Soak overnight.
- Drain pumpkin in colander, reserving juice.
- Return reserved juice to pot and boil for 20 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the drained pumpkin to the hot syrup. Cook over medium heat until pumpkin pieces start to become translucent, about 20-30 minutes.
- Add the crushed pineapple and its juice to the mixture. Stir.
- Sprinkle the jello over the mixture. Stir and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.
- Sterilize the jars either by using the sanitizer setting on the dishwasher or by placing the jars in boiling hot water.
- Fill sterilized jars, leaving approximately 1/4" head room at jar top. Heat lids and place on jars. Fingertip tighten rims to jars.
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