Pumpkin pickle

I was overjoyed to finally make it to the Collector Pumpkin Festival this year. I have wanted to go every year since arriving in Canberra over 5 years ago. I was very lucky to have a particularly wonderful Airbnb guest that weekend and we agreed to go together. The festival was really wonderful. There were pumpkin scarecrows, giant pumpkins, pumpkin scones and more pumpkin soup options that you could possibly imagine. It was a wonderful, family friendly day out in the crisp Autumn air in a lovely little country town. There were plenty of non-pumpkin attractions too: vintage cars, a rock climbing wall, market stalls and carnival rides.

Being the Harry Potter fan that I am, I was surprised that no-one was selling pumpkin pasties. It gave me the idea that I could have my own stall at the festival next year, selling only foods that are enjoyed in the magical world of Harry Potter. It would be a great contribution to my Page to Plate project. I have been working on a recipe for pumpkin pasties for ages and I promise I’ll post it soon. But I thought I could make chicken ham pies, you may remember how much Harry loves Mrs Weasley’s version of this dish. I have previously posted such a recipe for warm chicken and ham pies, but I thought the combination lended itself better to a variation similar to the traditional English pork pie, with a ball of minced meat in the middle surround by a flavourful savoury jelly, wrapped in a molded pastry. These pies are often served with piccalilli or another fruit or vegetable pickle. I realised I could make a great pumpkin pickle to serve with my chicken and ham pies.

Pumpkin pickle

Pumpkin pickle

The recipe needed to have the qualities of a British pickle, as opposed to an Indian one. I wanted some warming spices, but didn’t want it too hot and the flavours needed to pair well with the spices I’d use in the pie. I also wanted to provide some variations in the colour of the pickle. I chose mild chilli flakes, mustard seeds, ginger, cinnamon and allspice to add to a base of cider vinegar and raw sugar. This is the recipe I came up with. It will give you a good sized jar of pickle and is a great way to use up a wedge of pumpkin you may be having trouble getting through.

200 grams peeled and deseeded pumpkin
½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 slices fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon mild chilli flakes
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ stick cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice (pimento)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup raw sugar

Chop the pumpkin into small pieces.

Place the mustard seeds in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When they start to pop, add the remaining spices, sugar, vinegar and pumpkin pieces. Cover and simmer till the pumpkin is very tender.

Scoop the pumpkin into a sterilised jar and pack it down quite well. Reduce the pickling liquid till you have just enough to cover the pumpkin in the jar. Pour the boiling liquid over the jar, ensuring there is enough to cover all the pumpkin. Seal with a lid and leave it to cool. As contents of the jar cool, it should create a seal in the jar. Store the pickle in the pantry for at least a few days for the flavours to mature. Refrigerate after opening.

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