Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

Stewed Pompion

November 10th, 2011 by KM Wall

The Ancient New England standing dish. But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe (that would be the pompions or pumpkins), and cut them into a dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire for a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urin extreamly and is very windy.”


And he’s right – this is a very tasty dish to make when you have a cast iron pot and a gentle fire going all day long….but what about when you don’t have all day to cook one dish, or no gentle fire burning in your hearth or even a cast iron pot of two or three gallons to cook in and just where do you get a pumpkin when it’s not Halloween? First about the pumpkin: fresh squash is generally available throughout the winter, and is a delicious and appropriate substitute. Instead of stewing it all day, bake, roast or steam it, which ever way is easier for you, separating the flesh from the seeds and skin. That’s what the first part this description  is saying – that the housewives are cooking in a way that takes little of their attention and effort. You can even do this part ahead of time, and refrigerate for several days, or freeze it until you need it. The second part of this description is the seasoning and finishing before it goes to table. At this point you want the  golden goodness of  squash or pumpkin,   cooked to a pulp. Put it into a pan and heat gently. If you have 4 cups of squash, add 3 tablespoons of butter.When the butter melts and you’ve mixed it through, add 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar.


Again, mix it through. Now add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix a little more. Now taste – is it tart like an apple? Add more vinegar if you’d like, a half teaspoonful at a time. A little flat? Add more spice – perhaps a teaspoon of cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Too tart? Add a little more butter, a teaspoon at a time. Serve hot with just about anything.  


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3 Responses to “Stewed Pompion”

  1. Michelle Angers says:

    the stewed pompion I had in the cafe tasted sweeter, it was not tart at all. Was there perhaps brown sugar added?

    • KM Wall says:

      Not brown sugar – there might have been less vinegar – it depends on the pumpkin – or the butternut squash. A hotter summer makes a sweeter squash!

  2. [...] History Recipe: Stewed Pompion. When I was interning Plimoth Plantation, this was one of my FAVORITE recipes. We used a lot of [...]

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