Candied pumpkin is an unexpectedly addictive dessert that is so sweet and crunchy you may want to stock up at the pumpkin patch!
Hello all! It’s me, Deana. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with candied pumpkin. I was turned on to it recently by my dear friend who’s Turkish. He explained how amazing this little dessert was and that I HAD TO TRY IT! Well, at first I thought, it can’t be that good, can it!?
So, as he continued to go into extreme detail on how difficult it is to make this dessert, I became intimidated! He said it’s very challenging to achieve that desired crunchy outer shell that coats the pumpkin… and let’s not forget that sweet, syrupy, soft goodness that lies within. Well, challenge accepted!
My amazing mom was in town, so we went to the market and picked up some pickling lime. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either. It’s apparently calcium hydroxide, which was traditionally used to make canned pickles at home. In Turkey and other countries in the Middle East, they’ve been using it forever to achieve a super crunchy shell on a bunch of different foods, in this case pumpkin!
Now, this recipe is definitely not complicated, but it does take a lot of time since there’s a lot of soaking and waiting. But the cooking process itself isn’t very difficult. DISCLAIMER: I tried the original candied pumpkin from Antakya, Turkey, they make it the best I hear. Mine definitely wasn’t exactly the same, but it was still sooooo good!
The advice I give to get it closer to the original is to soak the pumpkin in the pickling lime longer and cook it on the stove until the pumpkin turns a golden brown.
These candied pumpkin pieces have definitely become one of my favorite candied desserts! Hope you like them as much as I do!
An unexpected crunchy, sweet dessert that's so simply pumpkin!
- 1 gallon water
- 1/2 cup pickling lime
- 4 cups white sugar
- 3 pounds pumpkin
- 1 cup water
- 1 squeeze lemon juice, fresh
In a large stock pot, combine pickling lime and water and stir until dissolved. Place pumpkin slices into water and let sit 12-24 hours, stirring occasionally. Rinse slices thoroughly 3 separate times until slices are completely cleared of the lime. Place slices in fresh cold water and let soak for 3 more hours.
Place pumpkin slices in a large pot. Add sugar and water. Cook pumpkin on medium-low heat for about one hour, or until pumpkin turns a golden-brown color. Add a squeeze of lemon and cook a bit more. Let it cool. Remove from pot, cut into pieces and enjoy!
My pumpkin is a brighter orange because I did not cook it as long. It should be more of a golden-brown color, although mine was still very delicious! Some people like to add tahini and crushed pistachios as a topping.