Pumpkin butter? Yes, please!

pumpkin-butter-squareAs the time of pumpkin everything comes to a close, behold – I bring you pumpkin butter! It is like apple butter but oh so much better because, you know, pumpkin. It is also a great way to use those not-so-delicious carving or decorating pumpkins (not gourds though), that have been sitting on your porch. You hate to throw those pumpkins away, don’t you? Well, they might not make the best pies, but trust me, pumpkin butter forgives many sins.

This recipe is a mashup of different ones that I saw online but didn’t quite like. Either the proportions seemed weird, or the amounts of pumpkin they used made no sense. So here is what I came up with, and man is it good!

Ingredient list:

– about 5 lbs. of pumpkin
– 1 cup white sugar
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 tbsp. cinnamon
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp cloves
– 1/2 tsp cardamom (this is an interesting suggestion from a Facebook friend, it really enhances the flavor)
– about 4 tbsp. of lemon juice

Now keep in mind that this recipe is very adjustable. Feel free to substitute the spices above for a pumpkin spice mix, or add more or less sugar to taste. Same with lemon juice. I like the tangy kick so I added lots of it.

The same can also be done with the canned pumpkin puree from the store. From my experience, 5 lbs. of pumpkin is equal to about 3 small (15 oz.) cans.

If you are making pumpkin butter from scratch, cut your pumpkin in half and scrape the stringy bits out. Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting, or maybe converting your lawn into a pumpkin patch, it’s up to you ;). Pop the pumpkin halves into the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes to an hour, until they are softish when poked with a fork.

Carefully peel the pumpkin, cut up the flesh and mash it as best you can. I used a potato masher, but it can also be done with a mixer or a food processor. It’s ok if the pumpkin is a bit lumpy, it still has to be cooked for quite a while. Dump the puree into your crockpot and set it on low if you are not in a hurry or on high if you plan to can the butter in a few hours. Add the spices and lemon juice, then stir. Leave the crockpot uncovered so excess moisture can escape. If your crockpot is on high, make sure you stir it every 15 minutes or so. I didn’t and some of the butter burned. It still tasted delicious. Just make sure it is not too thick, and if it is, dilute it a bit with some apple juice or plain water.

I cooked the butter for about 3 hours on high until the lumpy bits started to fall apart and the mix turned quite dark. On low it would take about 6 to 7 hours and less stirring (just estimating here). Taste the butter and adjust spices/sugar/lemon juice to taste.

Loving the flavor? Great, then pull out your immersion blender and get blending! You are looking for very smooth and silky consistency. I just dumped the butter into my generic food processor in batches, it worked just as well.

Now here is where I have to warn you that I am a rebel and that you really should not can pureed pumpkin for long-term storage. Nothing personal, just legalities. Check this page for more information on why the government says it’s a big no-no. If you are convinced, cool the butter, transfer it into glass container, store in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks.

But that is not what i did. I pulled out my pressure canner and canned those pints at my elevation’s pressure for 20 minutes. I decided to play it safe and keep the jars in the fridge, just in case.

As you can see, I ended up with about 7 half pints from 5 lbs of fresh pumpkin

We could hardly wait to open a jar and try it. The butter was amazing! It tasted a bit like apple butter but… different. I would still add more lemon juice but that is just me.

Pumpkin butter goes wonderfully on toast, plain bagels, pancakes, anything really. It would make an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving breakfast. The recipe can be tweaked endlessly, I’ve seen people adding maple syrup, apple or juice, even apple puree. I hope you try making it and fall in love with the wonderful fall flavor just like I did.


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