Pickled Pumpkin Recipe

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Makes 1 liter/1 3/4 pint jar

Pickling pumpkin with intent is a great way to consider what it is that you aim to preserve as you embark on the making process. Sure, as an outcome you’ll have pumpkin for salads, snacks and sandwiches throughout the winter. But the making process is even more important for honoring time, place, heritage and your part in the cycle of life. What are you trying to preserve? What are you trying to innovate?



  • 225 g/8 oz sugar
  • 240 ml/8 1/2 fl oz white wine vinegar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 750 g/1 lb 10 oz peeled and diced pumpkin


  1. Put the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and mustard seeds in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, add the pumpkin and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, process your bottling jars.
  3. Spoon the pumpkin into each jar and fill with the pickling liquid, ensuring that you leave a 1 cm to 1/2-inch gap at the top. Immediately place sterilized lids on each filled jar and seal. When all the jars are sealed, process them to keep them shelf-stable for up to six months.

How do you honor yourself, when you honor other forms of life?

“It would be becoming of us to speak modestly of our place in the universe. Let me offer a metaphor. Earth relates to the Universe as the second segment of the left antenna of an aphid sitting on a flower petal in the garden in Teaneck, New Jersey, for a few hours this afternoon.” —E. O. Wilson

Native American agrarians cultivated personal humility as they nurtured regenerative food systems. The “Three Sisters” (corn, beans and pumpkins) represented a microcosm of the food web they served. Corn was planted to provide a trellis upon which soil-feeding (nitrogen-fixing) beans would weave their way to the sky, while helping to support the corn stalks during storms. Pumpkins would grow in the shade of the corn and, as they plumped, would help to retain moisture in the soil during scorching summers. It ?s a tale I consider when I pickle pumpkin for seasonal gifts to reinforce my intent to develop a nature-relatedness practice to become the change from head to hands to habit.

More from The Mindful Kitchen:

 An environmental foodie on a holistic path, Heather Thomas is mindfully committed to creating positive change, nurturing nature connection, and transforming the way we eat. Part practical, part meditative, The Mindful Kitchen infuses the everyday with simple nature-related rituals to reinforce thoughts as positive actions-creating focus, awareness and translating intent into lifestyle. Bite-size philosophical notes, meaningful questions, joyful rituals, and an abundant feast of vegetarian recipes are mindfully stirred together in this new-wave cookbook. Offering over 100 seasonal recipes, this beautifully illustrated culinary go-to encourages you to make mindful choices through how and what you eat. Add empowering flavours for wellbeing — inspiration, curiosity, and awareness — and this is destined to be a must have in every kitchen library. With fresh takes on old favourites, and new dishes to tickle the taste buds, there’s a recipe for every season. Ranging from a classic bubble and squeak, to a refreshing elderflower champagne, recipes include: Leek and Hazelnut Risotto; Pumpkin Coconut Soup; Preserved Pizza; Zero Waste Veggie Stock; Rhubarb and Lentil Curry; Oatmeal Honey Bread; and Apple Cake Lasagne.

Reprinted with permission from The Mindful Kitchen: Vegetarian Cooking to Relate to Nature by Heather Thomas and published by Leaping Hare Press, 2019.

Mother Earth Gardener
Mother Earth Gardener
Expert advice on all aspects of growing.