This time of the year I try to capture the flavors of the season to savor throughout the year. Jams and preserves rank high on the list to enjoy with special cheese plates we serve at Casa Levitt during the holiday season. Butternut Squash Jam is a recipe directly from the blog of Giulia Scarpalenggia, a Tuscan born food writer, photographer, and so much more. Her stories and recipes will take you on a magical journey of the traditions and foods of this idyllic region.
Jams and preserves that start with ingredients that are traditionally associated with savory dishes have always appealed to me. Historically, squash has been used in desserts in the Veneto so the ideas of a jam flecked with vanilla seeds and lightly sweetened sounded delectable.
Giulia’s addition of sliced almonds to the cooked jam adds just the right amount of toothsome crunch.
We always start our Thanksgiving festivities with a well selected cheese platter paired with special honey and specially prepared jams to compliment each cheese. Welcoming our guests in this way is the traditional prelude to the Thanksgiving feast to follow.
Butternut Squash Jam makes the perfect topping for crusty bread and a cup of hot tea on a cold winter’s morning.
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- 3½ pounds of butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and diced into ¾ inches pieces
- Juice of two small lemons
- 2 cups of fresh water
- 2 vanilla beans split down the center
- 1 pound of granulated sugar
- ½ cup sliced almonds, very lightly toasted
- 3 Twelve ounce sterilized preserve jars
- Place the prepared squash into a heavy duty medium-sized saucepan along with the lemon juice and water. Bring the contents to a boil, reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot. Cook until the squash is easily pierced with a fork, this could take between 30 to 45 minutes. You may need additional water as the squash cooks.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the contents of the pot. Giulia suggests to create a velvety puree, however I enjoy a bit more texture.
- Add the sugar to the pureed squash and the split vanilla beans to the pot and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes to thicken the jam; again use your judgement.
- Add the sliced almonds and cook over low heat for an addition 5 to 6 minutes.
- Once the jam is cooled to room temperature, spoon it into the sterilized jars, close tightly and boil the jars for 30 minutes. I keep the jam in the refrigerator at this point to enjoy in the months ahead.
- As with any preserving, follow instructions carefully. Consult with reliable sources to insure that you follow proper procedures.