Marinated pumpkin

marinated pumpkin latvian eats

Latvians are passionate about preserving things. Fruits, vegetables, berries, mushrooms—you name it, we preserve it. This tradition stems from our long, harsh winters. With freezing temperatures lasting 6-7 months of the year, the opportunity to grow and eat fresh produce is quite limited. Preserving food through methods like making jam, marmalade, marinating, salting, curing, pickling, drying, smoking, canning, and bottling becomes the next best thing.

However, preserving isn’t just about extending the shelf life of nature’s gifts through winter. It’s also about creating quick and flavorful side dishes. Marinated pumpkin is one example: cubed pumpkin marinated in spices and vinegar, often served as a salad at parties.

Marinated pumpkin

30 minutes

Marinated pumpkin


  • 1 pumpkin (around 800g)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthways. Remove seeds and pulp. Peel the skin of the pumpkin.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in 1.5cm cubes.
  3. Place the water, sugar and vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cloves and cinnamon, let the syrup simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
  4. Add the cubed pumpkin to the liquid and continue to simmer for another 5-7 minutes until the pumpkin becomes translucent but is still firm.
  5. Let the pumpkins and the liquid cool. The pumpkin is edible as soon as cooled down, but it tastes the best if left overnight to marinate in the syrup.


There is an alternative recipe for marinating the pumpkin that uses lemon juice and a tablespoon of citric acid instead of vinegar. I have tried both recipes - vinegar gives the pumpkin more bite and stronger flavour and works best with savoury dishes, while pumpkin with lemon juice is more like a desert. Same recipe can be used if preserving the pumpkin for winter - just make sure jars are sterilised before use and cover the pupmkin completely with the syrup.


  1. Laura
    September 26, 2016

    The marinated pumpkin I have eaten in Latvija has slightly sweet, mild flavor. If you use the lemon juice version, how much lemon juice do you use?

    1. Liva
      September 26, 2016

      Juice from one large lemon should do the job


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.