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Portuguese Recipe: Doce de Abóbora (Pumpkin Preserve)

Cooking 2 hours Preparation 24 hours easy
Recipe type: Preserve Cuisine: Portuguese

Traipsing about the Portuguese country side, you may be inclined to buy some sweet homemade preserves. A variety of produce can be found throughout the country, but some places are well known for one or two in particular. In Fundão, in the Castelo Branco area, they are known for everything vibrant cherry. The Algarve has their seed speckled doce de figo (fig jam), while sandy textured pêra rocha (rocha pears) are celebrated in all forms, including jam, at the Feira Nacional da Pêra Rocha in Bombarral.

You may be interested in how you can make some Portuguese jam from the comfort of your own home. In most of the recipes I’ve seen or heard of, all you really need in a Portuguese jam is quite a bit of sugar, a little water and your favorite seasonal fruit. Thanks to Portugal having a wonderfully moderate Mediterranean climate, produce is collected year round. Just choose a seasonal fruit you have in abundance such as oranges (winter), pumpkin (autumn), strawberries (spring), or tomatoes (summer) and you’ll have the main ingredient to begin your jam or jelly making adventure.


  • 1 pound (450g) Pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin and place in a bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top and toss to coat the squash. Cover with plastic wrap and place over night in the refrigerator.
  2. Put squash mixture in a pan and cook over medium heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Once the squash is nice and tender, remove the pan from the heat and mash it with a potato masher or the back of a fork.
  3. If the pumpkin preserves still has a lot of liquid remaining, return the pan to the stove and continue cooking over medium low heat.
  4. To check for doneness, spoon out a bit of the preserve and place it on a flat plate in a mound. If liquid separates from the mound it needs to be cooked a bit more.
  5. Serve with either fresh sliced Portuguese bread or queijo fresco (unpasterized Portuguese cheese) or both!

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