Now here is a big-shouldered name for a small jar. ‘Squash Jam’ is aggressively named – like a mosh pit or like squeezing clowns into a vintage Mini. In Spanish it’s Dulce de Zapallo and in Italian Confettura di Zucca, and though both are euphonious titles, neither is as gleeful as the English in this case. The recipe here I’ve adapted from an Argentinian recipe, and there are many variations. I also need to disambiguate, as Dulce de Zapallo also refers to an Uruguayan delicacy of candied squash slices. This is a jam-like spread that may be eaten as such or, like Dulce de Membrillo, with cheese.
The flavour is wonderfully lively, with a loopy freshness from the squash, the barest hint of spice, and gentle sweetness.
1kg butternut squash, diced
400ml water (saved from boiling the squash)
Juice of an orange
Juice of a lemon
A dash each ground nutmeg and cinnamon
Just cover the diced squash in a medium-sized saucepan with water and boil. Stir frequently. When the squash is very soft, drain the water, saving back 500ml (an extra 100ml just in case). Add the squash water to the sugar in a separate saucepan and bring to a boil. The mixture will become slightly thick. Add the drained squash, mashing as you go just to break up the pieces a bit. Add the lemon and orange juice and the spices. Then cook slowly on medium to low heat until most of the water has evaporated. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture initially looks quite soupy – it will take time to cook down. Cook it down to the consistency of jam, stirring regularly with a paddle, as the gentle flavour will be spoiled if it scorches. Can in jars or simply refrigerate. It should keep for about two weeks once it is opened.