Butternut Squash Jam

This jam was one of the biggest surprises I have had recently. I have been hunting around for a spicy pumpkin jam recipe, and even though I’d never eaten it I had a preconceived idea of the taste: one that was dominated more by the spices and rather less sweet, and certainly with a stronger pumpkin flavour. What I got in reality was a light, moderately spicy, strongly scented, orange-citrusy jam, with barely a hint of the pumpkin flavour. I don’t mind though, because I am far less restricted by the flavour in what I can do with it.
Once again the recipe is a mash-up of several other recipes and a bit approximate because I didn’t really dare to be too precise. In any case, let everyone produce a jam that suits their own tastes. It’s better that way and I reckon you will have fun jazzing up the recipe and making it your own.

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash (somewhere around 2-2.5 kg)
1 kg  sugar
200ml 100% orange juice (or  freshly squeezed orange juice)
2-3 lemons – juice and zest
ground cloves
ground cinnamon
ginger (unfortunately I only had dried ginger, fresh would have been even more delicious)
a few drops of orange oil (only use reliable quality essential oil for this purpose!)
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet, cover with aluminium foil and bake until soft at 180-200 degrees celsius. I use a large tablespoon to scoop out the soft pumpkin flesh (peeling it while it is raw is such a faff, it is so easy to separate from the skin once cooked). Add the pumpkin, sugar, orange and lemon juice and zest, and spices to a suitable saucepan and cook until it has reduced slightly. You won’t need to cook it for long, because it will already be pretty thick. Finally, add approximately 10 drops of orange oil. Of course, you can add less sugar, it will still be sweet enough, but I think the sweetness is superbly balanced out by the really tangy citrus flavour. But let’s not quibble over sugar, everyone can cook it as sweet as they like it, but you can just follow the recipe if you prefer.
Pour into preheated clear glass jars, cover/put on lids and hotpack it.

Photos by David Orosz

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