It is the begining of December. I love this month. I love the holiday spirit. It’s a magical month to me. It’s the month of holidays where we enjoy family and friends gatherings, where we feel and express love, joy and gratitude. I love it because it includes Christmas( ohh, how I love this Holiday), few birthdays ( one of them is mine), end of a good year and the hope of a better new year, begining of my prefered season, winter (although, and unfortunately all the signs and facts refer to a premature spring ) and last but not least, I enjoy lots of baking and cooking and decorating the christmas tree.
So let the festivities begin.
I wanna start this merry month by this sweet, butternut squash conserves. We love this sweet as we never skip a season of cooking. I love it because it is crunchy from the outside and soft from the inside. And it can be conserved in jars of glass for a month, if there were any left. In our case, it’s never.
The butternut is limewashed by soaking the fruit in a mixture of water and lime. It is not the fruit lime that we know but a chemical white powder called calcium oxide. I know it sounds a bit weird but it’s a known and doable thing.
The preparation starts with taking a handful or two of lime, dissolve it in a bowl full of water for few minutes, then the water is changed three times, as we wash it. Of course we don’t throw the lime away with the water when changed. Then the limewater is poured over the chunks of butternut and are left soaking for a day. Then we wash them and rinse them with clean water.
The use of lime hardens the outside layer of the chunks, it gives them a crunchy crust.
Now comes the cooking part. For making the syrup. We put in a large saucepan 1 liter of water with 3 cups of caster sugar on low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then we add the fruits with a squeeze of lemon and few cloves. Stiring. And we leave it to boil uncovered for an hour or a little more until all the water is evaporated. Stiring from time to time.
Leave it for a while to cool down then fill in the jars or serve warm.