Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kürbis - Pickled Pumpkin

I'm sure you've noticed I've been away.  My husband and I took a little break and headed to the beach! 
He is in the middle of a lot of renovations and moves at work, so this was a perfect time to squeeze in a little time for us.  The weather was glorious and the temperature was perfect (cool nights and warm days.)  The Gulf is still warm and inviting and there were plenty of shells to pick up under the glassy water.

The wild life was everywhere...sea turtles, birds, butterflies.  As you can tell, we had a perfect time!

Now to the topic at hand...Kürbis!
For those of you NOT German... it's pumpkin!
It's also "shorthand" for pumpkin pickles. If you are lucky enough to have a German (or European) Deli near your home, you can pick up a jar to bring home and try.

However, I know many of you don't have that luxury...so I'm going to tell you how to make your own.
I first learned of Kürbis in the late 1970's while living with a German family on Long Island, NY. (Thank you RT for sharing your mama!)
OmaF was a great cook and I learned much from her.  I've come to believe she was my "preparatory school" before meeting my future MIL "OmaR". 
OmaF had certain ways that things were to be done...and it was always done that way!  OmaF also does not have recipes (neither does OmaR!)  They both learned to cook from their mother's in Germany before they immigrated.
Cooking with the Oma's always requires that you pay close attention when ingredients are added and how things are prepared.
Years later, while trying to write those recipes down, I would ask her for ingredients, measurements, times, oven temps...etc.  To NO AVAIL!  Some recipes (Rote Grütze for example) I only have the ingredients...no measurements.

So, with that in mind, here is the recipe I received from OmaF:
3 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar

I've figured out some things on my own, so I'll also give you some hints as to how I've learned to make my batch of Kürbis each year.
I start with about a 4 lb pumpkin.  You can adjust if you want to make more, but that would be the least I would start with...so you feel it makes it worthwhile for all the cutting you're going to be doing.

Like I said...cloves, but OmaR says it has to have cinnamon...(she agreed with the ingredients...and the amounts but insisted it have cinnamon.)

Now OmaF was very specific about cutting off the skin...unless you want to break your teeth.  I laughed and told her I would make that batch for people I didn't like.  She didn't laugh (those Germans!)

Cut all pumpkin at once to cook it all together.
I love how specific she is...so I'm peeling!

and I'm cutting.

She usually cuts larger pieces, but I'm not using big jars and I want the pieces to be more bite size (I'm sure I'll get a bad grade for that...against her rules!)

Bring to boil the cloves, sugar and vinegar.

While this is boiling I'm also preparing the lids for the canning jars.  I've put the jars through a dishwasher cycle so they'll be hot and ready for the Kürbis when it's finished cooking.

Once the sugar, vinegar, cloves and cinnamon have started to boil, place pumpkin pieces in the boiling liquid and keep at a low rolling boil. (The liquid will not cover it all).

Stir and continue cooking until pumpkin is glassy looking (clear).
The Kürbis will boil down some and you will be able to see the change in the color and look.  It truly will become glassy looking.

 Store in jars, cover with juice and store in fridge.  At this point OmaF takes the cloves out so as not to stain the pumpkin.  I like to leave a few in each jar, but I do take out the cinnamon sticks.

At this point OmaF lets the Kürbis cool and puts the jars in the refrigerator to be eaten (usually by the end of the year.)  She told me yesterday that she found one in the back of the fridge left over from last year and it tasted perfectly fine.  She'd never had one left over before, so she was a little amazed that it was still good.
OmaF has had to relocate recently and she said she was missing her kitchen.  I'm not sure she's up to cooking anymore, but she was an excellent cook in days past.  I have many wonderful recipes and memories from our times together.
I usually make Kürbis every fall.  Many times when OmaR was visiting she would tell me about her canning days and give me helpful pointers...of what I was doing wrong.  She is the one that pointed out I needed cinnamon in my Kürbis.  I'm sure "many cooks spoil the broth"...but I'm thankful for both Oma's and the knowledge they've "passed on" to me.  This fall I'll be sharing more German recipes from OmaF and OmaR...I'll have to work on those measurements, though. 
Through trial and error here is the recipe I made today.

Fresh Pumpkin - about 4 pounds
3 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
Cloves (1 tablespoon or more if you like stronger flavor)
Cinnamon sticks - 4 to 6

Peel and cut all pumpkin at once to cook it all together.
Bring to boil the cloves, cinnamon, sugar and vinegar.
Once it begins to boil, place pumpkin pieces in mixture and keep at a low rolling boil. (It will not cover all). Stir and continue cooking until pumpkin is glassy looking (clear). (I neglected to time this, but it's a little over 30 minutes.)
Prepare your canning jars (boil lids and make sure your jars are clean and hot so that the hot liquid will not crack the jars.)
Store in jars, cover with juice and store in fridge.
For you to decide...whether you will take the cloves out so as not to stain the pumpkin, or leave them in the jars.  We eat ours so quickly, there is no time for the Kürbis  to be stained.

For those of you that don't waste anything...I've saved the seeds and I'll show you next time what you can do with them!

Till tomorrow,
P.S.  For you Germans reading this...if you have other helpful hints or want to share you knowledge of Kürbis...please leave a comment for all of us to enjoy!  Thanks...

0 Cowgurls said: