Friday, November 2, 2012

Old Fashioned Southern Style Lemon Ginger [Pumpkin] Marmalade

I'll cut to the chase here.

What makes this old fashioned and southern style is the liberal use of pumpkin slices. In the south, this recipe is called Pumpkin Chips.    I've also found it called Pumpkin Marmalade and Pumpkin Pickle and since it really is more like marmalade than anything else, that's the name I chose.


First, let me make this clear.   This jam does not taste like pumpkin pie or anything remotely like it.   I did some blind taste testing with picky eaters  and they did not taste the pumpkin - even after I told them there was pumpkin in it.   The strongest flavor is lemon, then the ginger.   The pumpkin gives it a much lighter texture and less 'in your face citrus peel' flavor so that if you're on the fence about marmalade, but don't hate it, you'll love this jam.   I love this jam!   [Marmalade haters didn't like it because it tastes like marmalade.]

I know it's a reach.   But here's the deal.  Most people have firmly associated pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice.   It doesn't have to be that way.   Pumpkin is delicious without cinnamon, allspice and cloves.

I also loved this jam because the recipe is easy to adjust to the amount of pumpkin you have available - either a little or a lot.   So if you have one pumpkin but you want to make a pie and some marmalade, you can, very easily.  

I also loved this jam because I have a terrible time getting my marmalade to jell without using pectin.  This jam jelled perfectly.   Perfectly!!   With no pectin.   And it was easy. 

I started with two recipes that I found this summer:   Pumpkin Chips in Steve Dowdney's book, Putting Up: A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition and Pumpkin Ginger Marmalade, from Judith Choate's book, Gourmet Preserves.  

Steve's recipe called for twice as many lemons and half as much sugar as Judith's. I went with Steve's proportions.  Judith added ginger to her marmalade and I decided to use ginger in this recipe, too. 


This is a slow jam.   It needs to sit overnight before you start cooking it.  Then it takes a while to cook the next day and it needs to be watched.  Plan accordingly.

Four cups of chips will yield about 2 pints of jam.   Decide how much jam you want before you start. 

Cut the top off your pumpkin - like a jack-o-lantern.  Do the same thing with the bottom. That'll keep it still while you're cutting the middle.     Slice the middle into 1 inch wide 'spears' from north pole to south pole.   Peel each spear and take the seeds off.   Run the spears through the cutting/slicing attachment on your food processor, or cut them by hand into very very thin slices [short-ways] across each spear. 

Measure your chips frequently.  Stop making chips when you have enough for jam.    The rest of the pumpkin can be roasted or steamed for pies or pumpkin butter or muffins or cheesecake or something else with cinnamon, allspice and cloves.   [Take the seeds off before you roast, but you don't have to peel it if you're going to roast it.  After you roast it, you can scrape the flesh off the peel with a spoon.  Easy.]

Once you have your chips, then use these proportions to make your marmalade.

Old Fashioned Southern Style Lemon Ginger [Pumpkin] Marmalade
  • 4 cups pumpkin chips
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger [or minced candied ginger]
Wash the lemons well.  Juice the lemons.  Set aside the rinds to use later.  Put the pumpkin chips, lemon juice, ginger and sugar in a pot to sit overnight.   Stir well and then leave it alone until the next day.

In the meantime, go back to your lemon rinds.   With a spoon, pull out the seeds and discard them.   Chop up the rinds into small pieces [the size you won't mind eating in marmalade].  Put the rinds into a small pot and cover with water.   Boil for 20 minutes.    Drain and discard the water.   Keep the rinds.  Put those in the fridge until tomorrow. 

When you come back to the jam in the morning, stir the pumpkin and juices well again to help finish dissolving the sugar.    It'll be super juicy.

Put the pumpkin pot on the stove and add the cooked pieces of lemon rind to it.   Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook it until the pumpkin chips become translucent.    It might take an hour or more to cook it until translucent.   The higher the temp, the faster it cooks, but your goal isn't to get it done fast.   It's to get the sugar cooked into the pumpkin and lemon.   Don't rush it.   I cooked mine at a low-medium temp  [3 or 4 on a scale of 1-10 on my electric stove.]

When the chips are translucent, strain them out and set them aside.   This is to prevent them from overcooking and becoming mush while it finishes.    I used a big slotted spoon and put them in a colander over a bowl.    The extra liquid that drained into the bowl as I was getting the chips out, I put back into the pot.

Bring the liquid to a hard rolling boil - the kind of boil where foam creeps up the sides of the pot.   Stir constantly!   Use a long handled spoon.   Boil it until it gets to 213 degrees or until it gets thick but before it starts to darken.   Keep an eye on it.   If you don't have a thermometer, then put a small bowl or plate in the freezer for a few minutes.   Dribble a bit of jam on the cold plate and see if it wrinkles when it chills.    It will also start to double drip or sheet off the spoon when it's jelled. 

When the liquid is thick, then add the chips back to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then it's done.   Ladle into jars.  Steve Dowdney says this is a sugar saturated, high acid jam that is very safe to can.   Yield:  2 pints of jam for every 4 cups of chips that you started with.

I made this in a single batch with 16 cups of chips, 12 lemons and 8 cups of sugar.   It worked brilliantly!    The bigger your batch,  the wider the pot needs to be.   You want as much jam on the bottom of the pot at one time as you can get.  

Want the recipe for this Marmalade and a whole lot of other terrific jam recipes?   Check out my ebook:  A Simple Jar of Jam  at   You can preview the book by clicking the link on the sidebar.  Every purchase helps support this site.  Thank you!


  1. It looks delicious! I don’t know about the people you blind taste-tested this with, but it really looks yummy to me. I guess that's because you mentioned about it tasting like marmalade, and I just love marmalade. Thanks for sharing!

    Faith Thomas @ The Berry Farm

    1. Hi Faith! I confess this is my favorite marmalade. It's got a bright taste and is easier to make in large quantities than straight citrus marmalades. I can eat it by the spoonful.

  2. I would like to can mine when done. Should I take the pumpkin ships out earlier then stated above? So they don't overcook in the canning bath?

    1. Hi Cathryn - I canned mine as is. The sugar soak [macerating] keeps the pumpkin chips firm and not mushy. Fabulous! One tip - last year I cooked mine until good and thick, but it turned out dry because I had cooked out too much juice. Better to leave it a bit 'wet' in my opinion and have plenty of goo in the chips.


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