Pumpkin preserve

Pumpkin preserve


2 people made this

About this recipe: This is an old favourite from the Maritime Provinces in Canada. I love it as a topping for hot, buttered toast. I've spoken with seniors, though, who fondly remember eating it straight from a dish! There are a few variations to the recipe - some of the more modern versions add canned pineapple (very good) or a few maraschino cherries for colour - but the basic formula is pumpkin, sugar, citrus fruit and cloves.

Makes: 4 kg pumpkin preserve (approximately)

  • 3.5kg (8 lb) pumpkin
  • 1.3kg (3 lb) granulated sugar
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Extra time:8hr  ›  Ready in:10hr 

  1. Peel pumpkin and cut into small cubes, discarding the seeds. Put pumpkin into a large pot and pour over with the sugar. Cover and let sit overnight.
  2. The next morning, you should have a pot of pumpkin bits floating in a clear liquid. Finely slice and chop the oranges and lemons (rind and pulp, discarding any pips) and add to the pumpkin. Add cloves.
  3. Bring mixture to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin pieces become 'clear', i.e. they take on a more translucent appearance; you'll see it happening as they cook.
  4. Ladle hot into warm sterilised jars and seal.

Cook's notes

The size of your pumpkin pieces can be to your preference. Remember that the pumpkin will shrink as the sugar draws out the juice. (I don't cut them any smaller than 1/2 inch as I like a chunky end product.)
The pumpkin will not disintegrate to create a jam. This is more of a 'pieces suspended in syrup' product.
This recipe is very flexible. Measurements of the other ingredients can be adjusted to the size of pumpkin available, e.g. if you have a 2.7kg (6 lb). pumpkin, then you can reduce the fruit to four pieces and the sugar by 1/4 measure. You can also adjust the citrus to your preference i.e. some use more orange than lemon; some, only lemon.
Oh, and stick with a 'pie pumpkin', 8 lb being the maximum recommended size; the big ones sold for Hallowe'en are often too fibrous to make a good preserve - I found that out the hard way!

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Reviews (2)


It looks like the only way I can reply at this time is through the review option (and I feel a bit silly giving my own recipe a rating, but given that it's an old favourite, 5 stars it is...). Hello SheilaKell. A hot water bath will work just fine. To be honest, when I make preserves/pickles/ etc., I just pour boiling water into my clean jars, right to the rims, and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before pouring out the water; Similarly, I immerse all tools (e.g. the ladle) and the jar lids (the self-sealing kind like the Bernadine brand) in boiling water for a good ten minutes before using. If I have to use a jar with a lid that doesn't self-seal, then I seal my preserves with melted paraffin wax before capping the jars. I've never had an issue with spoilage. ^_^ - 11 Nov 2015


Thanks for posting this recipe. I grew up with "pumpkin preserves" and have tried to replicate the recipe. Mom sometimes added oranges and lemons, but not always. I can see that they would add acidity and help with preservation. My question is: does this amount of added citrus make it safe to use a water bath method of canning the pumpkin preserves? Do you recommend pressure canning? - 08 Nov 2015

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