I have gone a little pumpkin crazy lately, so I must apologize. But, since it is fall and pumpkins are finally showing up everywhere, I do have an excuse! My favorite winter squash to use for both baking and savory dishes here in Umbria is the Kabocha squash which is sold in just about every supermarket and outdoor market at this time. The kabocha squash has a dense flesh that isn’t as watery as a regular pumpkin, and the flesh is subtly sweet making it an excellent choice for both sweet and savory dishes.
I have been on a jam making binge lately as I work my way through my favorite new cookbook, Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti. I made both her Tropea Onion Jam, and then moved on to her Green Tomato Jam and loved both. I recently bought a French copper jam pot and have found it much easier to make jams and jellies without any sticking and ever since I can’t seem to stop making jam! I recently bought two plump Kabocha pumpkins at our local grocery store and thought I’d try making Pumpkin Jam. This is the first time I have ever used pumpkin in making jam, but it turned out great. I added the typical fall spices one associates with pumpkins such as cloves and cinnamon, so the jam just tastes like fall to me. This jam is delicious slathered on toast in the morning but is also delicious used in making Jam Crostata, Jam Oat Bars, or even thumbprint cookies.
When making my jam, I left my squash in larger sized pieces that didn’t break down as much as I had hoped they would while cooking, so I simply used my immersion blender to break down some of the larger clumps. Cutting the squash into smaller pieces as suggested in the recipe below will rectify that problem, although if you want a smoother jam, the immersion hand blender works great. Just remove the spices before you blend the jam!
Deborah Mele 2016
- 1 (2 Pound) Kachocha Squash, Peeled And Cut Into 1-inch Dice
- 1 Pound Sugar
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 2 Lemons
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 Teaspoon Whole Cloves
- 1 (1-inch) Piece Of Ginger Cut Into Strips
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, add the squash and sugar and bring to a boil.
- Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, and open it to release the vanilla.
- Zest and juice both the lemons and then add the zest and juice into the pot.
- Cut a piece of cheesecloth and place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and ginger inside, then tie it closed with kitchen twine.
- Drop the spices into the pot and then continue to cook, stirring often, until the squash breaks down, thickens, and gels, about 45 minutes.
- Place jars and lids in a large pot filled with water and boil for 10 minutes.
- Pour the jam into the sterilized jars, attach the lids, then return to the pot.
- Process the jam for another 10 minutes, then allow the water to cool to room temperature.
- Store the jam in an airtight shelf until needed.