Abenaki Pumpkin Candy

Course : Candy
Serves: 1
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2 pounds pumpkin -- (2 to 3)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 medium juice and zest of 1 lemon -- (optional)
3 sprigs fresh cilantro -- (optional), (3 to 4)

Preparation / Directions:

Peel and seed pumpkin and cut it into 2X4 inch strips. Stir baking soda into enough water to cover the strips. Add pumpkin strips and allow to soak 12 hours. Drain and rinse pumpkin in running water. Drop pumpkin strips into a pot of boiling water and cook until tender, but not soft. Remove the pumpkin strips and crisp in a bowl of ice cold water, then drain. Combine sugar with 1/2 cup water, lemon juice and cilantro in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, then boil slowly, without stirring for 10 min. Add pumpkin strips, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20 min, until syrup is thick and strips are brittle. Spread candy out on a rack or on a wax paper-covered tray to dry for at least 10 hours. Roll in additional sugar if desired and store in an airtight container.

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