More of a pickle than a chutney, this is a great recipe for using up the pumpkins and squashes that are on sale at a good price for Halloween and beyond. Excellent on bonfire night, for hotdogs and alongside curries.

PICTURE: Mark Diacono

From Pam the Jam: The Book of Preserves (Bloomsbury, £20)

Makes 3 x 400–500ml jars

• 1.5kg pumpkin or butternut squash (1kg prepared weight)
• 2 tbsp fine sea salt 
• 150g fennel 
• 2 red chillies, halved and seeded 
• 35g fresh root ginger (25g peeled weight) 
• 2-3 fat cloves of garlic 
• 150ml sunflower or rapeseed oil 
• 1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
• 1 tsp fennel seeds lightly crushed 
• 1 tsp turmeric 
• 1 tbsp English mustard powder 
• Zest of 2 unwaxed limes and 90ml juice (3-4 limes) 
• 250ml cider vinegar 
• 200g golden granulated sugar 
• Sea salt, to taste

Peel, deseed and chop the pumpkin into 1-1.5cm cubes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle on the salt then toss to combine. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and a plate and leave for 12-24 hours.

Sterilise your jars and twist-on lids. Tip the pumpkin into a large sieve and rinse under cold water, then drain and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Blitz the fennel, ginger, chilli and garlic with 100ml of the oil (or grate or finely chop the ingredients and mix together with the oil).

Heat the rest of the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the fennel purée. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the peppercorns, fennel seeds, turmeric and mustard. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent the spices catching.

Add the lime juice and zest, the vinegar and the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to simmering point. Add the pumpkin and return to simmering point for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste.

Pack the pumpkin pieces in their sauce brimful into the warm jars, tapping the jar on the work surface and pushing down gently with a teaspoon to prevent air-pockets. Seal immediately. Invert the jars for a minute or two to ensure the lids are sterilised before turning the right way up and leaving to cool.

The pickle can be eaten straight away. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 1 year. Keep in the fridge once opened and use within 10 weeks.


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