In Sicily the yellow pumpkins are abundant and cooked as appetizers, side dishes and in a sweet version used in
breads, cookies, sweets and cakes. Pumpkins preserved with sugar in Italian are called “zuccata or in Sicilian
cucuzzata”. The winter squash and at times the skin of the watermelon are processed and candied, cured with sugar
and used for garnish or mixed with various creams. To make the marmalade or the preserve, green ripe
zucchine-squash are cooked shortly with sugar and a few drops of lemon juice; fresh zucchine are available year
around in all supermarkets. The following are easy recipes to make the jam or marmalade and the candied quash.
Zucchini Marmelade (“Conserva di Zucca” “A Cucuzzata”)
3 lbs. of zucchini
2 cups of sugar (1 lb.) (Approximately)
juice of 1 lemon
Place the zucchini in a basin with cold water for a few minutes.Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and stirring occasionally, simmer for 35
minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
Using a brush, gently scrub the zucchini under running water to remove any sand or down, the soft feathery
substance that grows on the soft skin of the zucchini. Cut off the stems and cut each zucchini in 3 or 4 pieces;
discard the seeds. In a large saucepan, place the squash with a pinch of salt. Cover with water and bring to a
boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and place in a colander to cool, and
then set on a kitchen towel to dry: cover and rest 12 to 24 hours.
Weight the dry zucchini and place in a saucepan with the sugar, the lemon juice, ¼ cup of water and the clove.
The sugar should weight ¾ of the weight of the dry zucchini; the correct weight can be easily obtained by
multiplying the weight of the zucchine in ounces by 0.75.
Remove from the heat, discard clove, and stir mixture with a whip to homogenize the marmalade. Transfer into a
glass jar. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Squash (“Zuccata”- “Cucuzza ‘Ncilippata”)
2 lbs. of squash
2 cups of sugar (1 lb.)
juice of 1 lemon
1 stick of cinnamon
Cut the squash into large pieces, peel and discard the seeds.
In a large saucepan, place the squash and sprinkle abundantly with salt.
After 1 hour, cover the salted squash with water and leave it in the brine for an additional hour than rinse
thoroughly a few times, to eliminate any remaining salt.
Soak in water overnight, at room temperature, changing the water a few times.
Place the squash in large clay or stain steel saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and
simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain and place in a colander to cool.
Weigh the squash, place in the saucepan and add the sugar in an equal amount of the weight of the squash. Add the
juice of 1 lemon, the stick of cinnamon and cook gently at a low heat. After the sugar melts turn the squash
occasionally. Cook it for 25 minutes; remove from the heat and storage in a cool place. Do not refrigerate. Let it
The next day, over a low heat, cook the squash for an additional 10 minutes, after the sugar starts to melt. Move
the pieces of squash to coat them with the sugar glaze.
Remove from the heat, transfer into a glass jar and pour any glaze left in saucepan over the top.
Zuccata can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks.