Pickled Kabocha Squash


As the vibrant colors of autumn grace our tables, there's one seasonal delicacy that deserves the spotlight – kabocha squash. Its sweet, nutty flavor and vibrant orange hue make it a favorite for fall dishes. But have you ever considered pickling this delightful squash? In this journal post, we'll explore the art of pickling kabocha squash, a technique that enhances its natural flavors and preserves a taste of autumn for months to come.

The Kabocha Squash: A Fall Delight

Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, is a staple in many autumn recipes. Its firm, sweet flesh pairs beautifully with warming spices, making it a star ingredient in soups, stews, and side dishes. But pickling kabocha takes it to a whole new level.

Why Pickle Kabocha Squash?

Pickling kabocha squash offers several advantages:

  1. Preservation: Pickling extends the shelf life of kabocha squash, allowing you to enjoy its flavors even when it's no longer in season.

  2. Versatility: Tangy kabocha squash pickles can add a burst of flavor and dress up a cheese platter, sandwiches or even be tossed in a salad. 

  3. Complex Flavors: The pickling process infuses the squash with a delightful blend of sweet, sour, and spicy notes, enhancing its natural taste.

  4. Nutrient Dense: Kabocha squash is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.

Here's a simple recipe to pickle kabocha squash by Emma from our Women's Heritage Sourcebook:

Pickled Kabocha Squash

This recipe is worth a try when autumn rolls around and you can find winter squash at the farmers market or in your CSA box. You can also substitute butternut squash or sugar pumpkin for the kabocha.   

Makes 1 pint or 2 half pints


1 small kabocha squash, butternut squash or sugar pumpkin,  (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 ½  cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup filtered water

1 cups pure cane sugar

1 teaspoon canning salt

10 black peppercorns

8 whole cloves

5 allspice berries

1 cinnamon sticks

1 bay leaves



1.Prepare jars by washing jars and lids and get water in your canner heating. 

2. Peel the pumpkin and remove the inner seeds and strings. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

3. Place  the peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaves into a small muslin bag or cheesecloth and tie up securely.

4. In a medium pot, combine vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and spice bag. Heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.

5. Add the pumpkin chunks to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the pumpkin mixture in the pickling liquid for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the chunks are translucent and fork-tender.

6. Ladle the pumpkin into prepared jars, and cover with syrup, leaving 1/2” headspace. Wipe the rims apply the lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

7. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a kitchen towel. Let cool completely and then store in a dark cool place. These pickles are best if allowed to rest for 2 weeks before eating.


NOTE: Due to the low acidity and thickness in texture of pumpkins they are no longer considered safe to home can. However, when you add vinegar, sugar and spices and let the dense veggie swim in an acidic brine it’s okay! Woohoo.

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