It’s early October and nearly everywhere you go, and everywhere you look…there are pumpkins.
The vast majority of these pumpkins are quite large. The ones carved into Jack-o-Lanterns by the kids and the kids at heart.
Their destination is not the dinner table, not in pies or mashed, not sauteed or roasted.
But the front porch.
The only heat these pumpkins will likely ever see is the warmth of a candle lit within.
It’s a special time of the year.
You can find most every vegetable you enjoy pickling, most any time of the year.
But for us picklers, fall is great time to take advantage of a vegetable that only comes around once a year.
And that would be pumpkins.
BUT, not just ANY pumpkin.
The large, Jack-O-Lantern type, while technically “edible”, are stringy, watery and not nearly as tender and as sweet as are Pie Pumpkins.
You’ll usually find Pie Pumpkins not on hay bales, but in baskets or on displays within the store. Quite often in the produce department.
They can also be tagged by their varietal names such as: Baby Bear, Cinderella, Dickenson, Early Sweet Sugar Pie, Spookie or Triple Treat.
They are generally a roundish, 6-inch diameter pumpkin and look like this.
As for pickling pumpkin, it’s not as foreign an idea as you might think. It’s actually quite popular in Northern Europe.
Well, I guess that counts as “foreign”… if you live in the U.S.
When pickled with the Great Lakes Granny’s Bread & Butter Pickling Pouch (with a couple of additional spices added), pickled pumpkin pieces are both sweet & sour and are a wonderful addition to your fall dinner table or for any winter holiday.
This recipe works equally well for other Winter Squash such as Acorn, Butternut, Buttercup or Hubbard. In fact, you can use this recipe with Sweet Potatoes.
*NOTE: A typical Pie Pumpkin with yield enough pumpkin chunks for 1 to 2 pouches.
With any of these winter squashes, begin by cutting them in half (or wedges), then removing the inner seed and strings until you get right down to the firm pulp.
Next, trim off the outer shell. This is easier if they are cut into 1” long wedges. Use caution.
Lastly, cut in 1” pieces.
You CAN leave the outer shell on if you prefer, it just eats differently when served that way.
Place all the chunks in a sauce pot, add water to cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes OR, until JUST, JUST BARELY tender.
Alternately, you can place the chunks in a microwave safe container, cover with plastic film, and microwave, again, unit JUST tender. With the microwave method you’ll want to remove the container from the microwave and gently stir to be sure the pieces all cook evenly.
Drain off the excess juices or water, which you can save and use as the water that you’ll need to add to your Pickling Pouch later.
Chill the pumpkin pieces, then follow the instructions on the Granny’s Bread & Butter Pickles while reducing the white vinegar by ¼ cup and then adding these additional spices to each pouch.
10 black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
6 allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
*If you like a bit of heat, add a half a jalapeno pepper.
We recommend warming the water and vinegar to lukewarm. This will encourage the initial flavor release of the newly added spices.
You can expect the flavor of this particular recipe to be at its best 4 to 5 days after making it.
These sweet and tangy pickled pumpkin pieces can be enjoyed as a snack and go so well with a cheese board or with roasted meats.