Inspired by Stu Mills of CBC Ottawa Radio One, who has vowed to air a pumpkin story daily until Halloween, I’ve decided to write and post my own little segment of the Twelve Days of Pumpkin. This is my third piece!
We all know we can toast pumpkin seeds and eat them as snacks. We all know we can whack the meat of a pumpkin to a fine pulp and put it in a pie. In my series of pumpkin stories, I bring to you today, yet another great idea for pumpkins that you might not know: Pickled Pumpkin.
And you thought this was going to be a sordid little drunken story about me … shame on you. Sorry to disappoint!
My mom shared this recipe of one of my childhood favourite side dishes, but she then confessed she stole it from Madame Benoit.
Now, there’s a name I hadn’t heard for decades. Madame Benoit was not the proprietor of some bawdy house in New Orleans as you might think; she was Jehane Benoit, the Queen of Canadiana Cuisine. Outside of Canada, Mme Benoit is virtually unknown, but I grew up hearding her name regularly. She was the French Canadian equivalent of Julia Child. While she was famous for many French Canadian classics like French Canadian pea soup, pork and beans (made with maple syrup, of course), cretons (a pork-based meat spread) , and tarte au sucre (hope you have a dental plan), I remember her best for her reputation for her classic Tortiere (meat pie). When I was about six years old, I recall visiting her farm in Quebec once and cuddling with the little lambs on her farm, only to be crushed upon being told by Monsieur Benoit that Madame was experimenting with lamb recipes for a new cook book (and if I remember correctly, there ensued one of my many solo imprisonments in the big ol’ familyFord LTD). This was a women whose recipe for meat loaf involved wrapping it in bacon and adding a spicy glaze of brown sugar and spices (it was “you had me at ‘bacon’” good). Don’t you mock her – she lived to the ripe old age of 83! Mercifully, before seeing poutine dubbed as Canadiana as toques, beer and hockey.
But alas, I digress. Pickled Pumpkin is a wonderful accompaniment to tortiere, cretons and Mme Benoit’s meat loaf, but I’m sure you will find other suitable main dishes for yourself. Enjoy!
16 cups cut-up pumpkin, (3/4 in.chunks)
4 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
2 cups cider vinegar
3 cups water
6 oz. frozen orange juice-concentrate; thawed
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
- In a large kettle combine sugar, vinegar, water, orange juice concentrate and spices (tie spices in cheesecloth, if desired).
- Heat mixture over high heat until boiling, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
- Stir in the pumpkin chunks and reheat to boiling
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin is just barely tender, about 10 minutes
- Ladle into hot jars to within 1/4 inch of tops, spooning in the hot liquid from kettle
- Run a slim, non metal tool down along the insides of jars to release any air bubbles. Add additional hot liquid to within 1/4 inch of tops, if needed
- Wipe tops and threads of jars with a damp clean cloth.
- Put the lids and screw bands in place as per manufacturers’ directions
- Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Coming up next in my series … pumpkin skin care …