🇪🇪 Estonia: Pickled Pumpkin

When the Christmas season approaches, everyone in Estonia starts longing for juicy oven-roasted pork and traditional blood sausages served with with potatoes, sauerkraut, pickled pumpkin and cranberry jam – our beloved winter flavors. Pickled pumpkin is an Estonian Christmas table staple, a perfect pairing for anything savory, meaty and roasted. Slightly crunchy and flavorful pickled pumpkin can be used as a tasty side dish, topping, or snack. It can be prepared several weeks in advance, as it keeps well in the fridge. The brightly colored pickles look beautiful in a glass jar, making them a perfect gift for your foodie friends.

“The Estonian Christmas table is not complete without pickled pumpkin, usually homemade. Every family has its own special recipe. When I was a child, the sweet smell of cinnamon, allspice and cloves that goes into the pickling marinade would fill our home long before Christmas, bringing the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season.”

-Kristjan Prikk, Ambassador of Estonia
For the full experience, play this traditional tune while prepping the recipe!

🇪🇪 Estonia: Estonian Pickled Pumpkin

Servings 12
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking Time 12 hours


  • 1 pumpkin about 4 lbs, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar with 5% acidity
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 6 whole cloves


  • Canning jars with lids


  • Prepare the pumpkin by peeling it and cutting it into 1-inch cubes.
  • Remove any remaining seeds from the pumpkin pieces and discard.
  • Prepare a light vinegar-water solution by mixing 1 cup white vinegar with 4 cups water. Add the pumpkin cubes to the vinegar water and let them soak for 12 hours or overnight. This step will help enhance the crunchiness and give the pumpkin a subtle zesty flavor.
  • The next day, in a large stainless pot, add the pumpkin cubes with the vinegar water from the soaking bowl, 2 cups of white vinegar, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks, allspice and cloves.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Reduce the heat to low and let the pumpkin simmer for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes slightly tender. Be careful not to overcook the pumpkin; you want it to remain firm.
  • Carefully transfer the pickled pumpkin and liquid marinade into canning jars (or to a covered serving bowl), making sure the pumpkin is fully submerged in the liquid. Remove cinnamon sticks, as they would stain the pumpkin brown. Cloves and allspice can stay to enchance the Christmassy spiciness.
  • Cover bowl or seal jars with lids and store in the fridge. The pickled pumpkin will be ready to eat after a day or two, but its flavors will develop and improve over time.


In a covered bowl the pickles keep for 1 week, in closed jars for 3-4 weeks.
You can adjust the amount of vinegar and spices based your preferences. Enjoy the pickling process and your beautiful delicious pickled pumpkin!

Did you make this recipe? Post a pic with #EUHolidayCookbook and let us know how it went!

Created by the European Union Delegation to the United States © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.