Sunday, 28 October 2012

From Pumpkins to Pickles...

When I was a kid I could hardly wait for Halloween.  I was especially excited about   all of the candy that I would get when I went Trick or Treating.    In those days I wore home made costumes and   carried a six quart basket for all of the loot.  Some people gave out apples and those got tossed into the ditch to make room for more candy.  It was such an enjoyable time. I remember dumping my candy onto the living-room rug and sorting it into different categories like toffee, chips, liquorice etc.  I was allowed to eat a few things but the rest was put away for another day.  I am certain that the minute I went to bed my parents nibbled away on some of the sweets.  OK, I confess that I did that with my own kids.  

When my own kid’s were small we decorated our house with lots of Jack-o-lanterns, scary music, spider webs etc. The next day we tossed the Jack-o-lanterns into the compost bin.   If I had a particularly large pumpkin I would salvage what I could and bake the section that wasn’t burnt by candle wax.    The pumpkin got scraped from its outer shell, mashed and was used   to make pumpkin loaf or muffins.  It freezes very well.

 In one of my local cookbooks I found a recipe for ‘Pickled Pumpkin’.  Since I like to try unusual recipes when canning and preserving, this one fits the bill perfectly. 
Pickled Pumpkin
5-6 lbs. pumpkin pared
1 pt. white vinegar
3 lbs. sugar
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tbsp. cinnamons stick broken
2 pieces crystallized ginger

Cut the pumpkin into 1 inch cubes.
Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and shimmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Place the cloves, cinnamon, ginger into a small piece of cheese cloth and tie.
Add to the syrup and boil for 5 minutes.
Add the pumpkin and bring the mixture back to a fast rolling boil
Boil over low heat exactly 25 minutes, stirring often.
Remove the spice bag.
Place the pumpkin into sterilized jars, pour the vinegar syrup on top to completely cover and seal.
This makes about 5-6 pints. 

I make this recipe now, when Halloween pumpkins are in abundance.  This recipe is a delicious and unique gift to give at Christmas as a small hostess gift. It’s tasty with pork and poultry.

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown

*I grew up outside of a small town called Waterford.     The town has created a major tourist attraction every year close to Halloween called ‘The Waterford Pumpkin Festival’.  You can read all about it .  In view of the fact that Halloween is coming up next week I would strongly recommend the following site .   It’s safe for kids and has lots of great ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gloria! You tossed the apples away? OMG. We had to duck for apples in a basin of water.
Can't remember getting candy.
We carried tin cans around the village and collected coins for the Red Cross.
Our costume if memory serves, was mostly dirt and lipstick on our faces and we wrapped ourselves in old curtains.
Mmmm...those were the days. LOL!