Makes about 12 cups
To make pumpkin jam, don’t use any pumpkin that is carved and left outside as they rot easily. There are three stages to the cooking process. After the sugar melts, the pumpkin chunks simmer in sugar syrup and the pieces float. As the liquid evaporates and thickens, the pieces turn translucent. As the pumpkin breaks down, the mixture looks like thick apricot jam. When hardly any liquid remains, the jam is done.
|1||large pumpkin (10 to 11 pounds)|
|4||pounds (about 9 cups) granulated sugar|
|1||teaspoon lemon juice|
1. Lay the pumpkin on its side. Using a sharp knife, cut off about 1 inch from the stem end. Set the pumpkin right-side up on its base and slice down from the top to cut the pumpkin into quarters or wedges. Scrape out the seeds and strings.
2. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the pumpkin skin; or cut the wedges into large chunks and use a sharp knife to cut the flesh from the skin. Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch chunks. You need 5 to 5½ quarts (at least 20 full cups).
3. In a soup pot, combine the pumpkin, sugar, and lemon juice. Place over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking, stirring every 10 minutes, until the pumpkin breaks down, becomes translucent and slightly darker in color, and the mixture thickens. After about 30 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-high or medium. The mixture should simmer, but not bubble too furiously. Continue to cook, stirring every 10 minutes so the jam doesn’t scorch on the bottom. When the mixture is thick, jammy, and translucent, it is close to being done. Keep over low to medium heat, stirring often, for 10 to 20 minutes more, or until there is very little excess liquid on top. Total cooking time is 1½ to 3 hours, depending on the heat level and denseness of the pumpkin.
4. Ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars and seal, following safe canning procedures; set on a wire rack to cool. Or ladle the jam into jars or other containers, cool, and refrigerate.