Canned Pumpkin Pickles - a Sweet Fall Treat

| 10/16/2013 9:06:00 AM

Tags: Canning, Pumpkin, Grandma, Cooking, Garden, Recipes, Pickles, Erin Sheehan,

Erin SheehanOur pie pumpkin harvest last year numbered 21 absolute beauties in the 7-8 pound range. We traded some with friends and family, and made pumpkin pie, soup, and bread. We even tried a to-die-for pumpkin trifle. But by late-October we we were still looking at over 100 pounds of pumpkin to use up or process. I really wanted to can it, but canning pumpkin can be problematic due to its density and low acid levels. When I landed upon a recipe for canned pumpkin pickles, I knew I had to try it. (Pumpkin pickles are safe due to their acidic brine and cubed pieces.)

Although my mom says she doesn’t remember ever eating them, her mom had a pumpkin pickle recipe tucked into her 1931 Successful Farming Cookbook. Grandma’s recipe called for green pumpkin, reflective of the mentality of the era. In 1931 you found a use for everything on the farm, and I mean everything, including those pumpkins that didn’t quite make it before the frost.

Old Pickled Pumpkin Recipe

However, not only did I want my pumpkin pickles to look beautiful and orange in the jar, I had already composted our unripe pumpkins (silly me!), so I used fully ripe pumpkins for my recipe. The recipe below is cut in half from what I made. I was very motivated to use up pumpkin, after all! I also used more cider vinegar than you will find below and less white vinegar, but wish I had done it differently, hence the changes.

Pumpkin pickles use the same spices as a pumpkin pie, so the flavor is not what you might expect from a more traditional pickle. I’ve seen it characterized as tasting like a “cold pumpkin pie” and a “sweet pumpkin curry”. I’m not sure I’d completely agree with either, but they are delicious and unusual and certainly worth making. They will look beautiful on your holiday table and spruce up your canning cellar as well!

Canned Pickled Pumpkin

If you decide to try your hand at pickling pumpkins, be sure to use small pumpkins grown for eating, no jack-o-lantern leftovers or pumpkin growing contest winners!

Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need:

10/30/2013 12:09:32 PM

Hi Susan - it is great, right? My mom remembers her mom making watermelon rind pickles but I haven't located the recipe she used yet. I hope your pumpkin pickles turn out great!

10/29/2013 9:22:58 AM

Very interesting - don't you love the way they used to not waste anything? Our mom always made watermelon pickles from the rind, a real treat. Also making jelly or syrup from the peelings and pits of peaches or apples, for instance, after making applesauce or canning the peaches or pears. Waste not, want not. Thanks for this recipe.

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