Next to the chicken run Jean planted a bed of courgettes, squash, and pumpkins. The courgettes did moderately well, but in any case you rapidly tire of even a modest harvest of courgettes. The Festival squash did brilliantly, and we’ve discovered that roast squash is a delight.
Which leaves the pumpkins. Two decent sized Halloween pumpkins, plus one smaller one, which have now ripened to a lovely orange colour. But what to do with them? We have a very nice recipe for pumpkin and goats cheese, which I’ve written about before, but what else? I decided to try making pumpkin marmalade.
But first I have an admission to make. I didn’t use a home-grown pumpkin, but bought a similarly sized one from Costco. Why? Well, what if it had all gone wrong? I couldn’t face up to telling Jean that I’d cut up one of her lovely pumpkins and made an uneatable sloppy mess.
I needn’t have worried, though. It turned out beautifully. Here’s a line up of the ingredients, though this time posed with the genuine home-grown article:
I based my effort on the River Cottage recipe here: River Cottage Pumpkin Marmalade Recipe. But I’m always wary of jam recipes that call for large quantities of liquid, so I modified it a bit.
- 3kg pumpkin flesh, in large chunks (I actually got 2.9kg, but there or thereabouts)
- 4 oranges. I bought nicely thin-skinned Valencia ones. If you’ve got some Seville oranges put by in the freezer, so much the better.
- 4 lemons
- A good piece of fresh ginger. I used about 150g
- 500ml water
- A 500ml bottle of Bottlegreen brand Ginger & Lemongrass Cordial (or similar). I’m pretty sure that this could be optional, since it adds significantly to the cost for the extra zing that it gives. Simply substitute 500ml of water
- 2kg sugar. I used ordinary granulated, and the preserve set very well, but preserving sugar would give more peace of mind.
Scrub the lemons and the oranges, and slice them very thinly, discarding the pips as you go. I cut the ends off the fruit, and sliced the zest off the ends before discarding the thicker pieces of pith. Leave the pith on the slices unless it’s very thick. Cut the slices so that the peel is in suitably marmalade length pieces.
Grate the pumpkin flesh. As River Cottage say, try to keep the strands as long as possible as you will get a better consistency that way. Aim for matchsticks or batons as you might for carrots. The Magimix with an appropriately sized French Fries slicing blade made very short work of this. But however you do it, don’t blitz the flesh to a pulp.
Peel the ginger and chop it finely.
In your preserving pan put 250ml of water and the chopped ginger. It will look very lonely. Simmer it gently until the ginger softens a bit. Then add the lemon and orange, and heat through. Then stir in the remaining 250ml water, the 500ml of ginger cordial, and the pumpkin.
Bring up to the boil, stirring frequently. Then simmer for about 45 minutes. You do need to stir it quite often. Mine began to catch, and I had to transfer it quickly to a fresh pan. Luckily I was in time, but I can imagine that it would have spoiled quite quickly if I hadn’t. It may take less time, or more, depending on your pan, your cooker, and the quantities that you’re making. Just keep simmering it until the fruit has all softened.
Now add the sugar and stir. Gradually increase the heat, still stirring until you get a typical “rolling boil” until the mixture reaches setting point. I must admit that I don’t have an eye for such things, so I use a thermometer. When it consistently reads 104C, take it off the heat.
I made this yesterday, and today have had toast and pumpkin marmalade for breakfast. It’s really delicious. You can taste the citrus, which has flavoured the pumpkin very nicely. The strands of pumpkin make it a much more interesting texture. And the ginger is just the faintest “is there or isn’t there?” hint.
Oh, and it filled 14 pound jars.