Baby tomatoes

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pumpkin Butter- Yummy stuff!!

Let me start with a stern warning- I share a lot of canning recipes. This is NOT one of them. Pumpkin butter is NOT SAFE for canning at home, even with a pressure canner.  Ok, so we got that out of the way......

The Chef and I did an inventory of our canned foods still leftover from last fall- we have a LOT of pumpkin, butternut squash and Hubbard squash. So what should I do? Of course I plan on baking a few goodies but I thought why not a crockpot full of yummy pumpkin butter? It's the harbinger of fall, always makes the house smell AMAZING and is super easy to throw together in a crockpot. Since I have the extra jars, I decided to give it a shot.

I chose 6 quarts- 4 of pumpkin, one of butternut squash and one of Hubbard squash- all of which are perfect for pumpkin recipes. Drained and dumped in the crockpot, mashed with the potato masher, I added 3 cups of sugar (to start), a dash of nutmeg, ginger, allspice, orange peel and a big blast of cinnamon, and put it in the crockpot to simmer. Mmmmmm the smell is sooooo wonderful. Thanksgiving is in my crockpot!

Since I'm winging this one a little bit, let's jot down the recipe as we go- you will need-

  • 6 quarts canned cubed pumpkin*
  • 3 cups sugar (plus more)
  • 1 tsp each nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, orange zest (I used Penzey's dried- it you use fresh, 1 tb)
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the cubed cooked squash in the crockpot, mash well with a potato masher. Add sugar and spices, stir well. Turn on high heat and cover. Once the pumpkin butter is bubbling, turn heat to low and cover with splatter shield or prop the lid open. You want the pumpkin butter to cook down into a rich, thick consistency.

Taste during the cooking process too. Add more sugar if you need it, more spices, etc. When it tastes delicious to you, you've hit the right combo!

When you've cooked the pumpkin butter to your desired thickness, it's time to jar it up. You can use plastic freezer containers if you like. I am going to use those cute little square Ball jars- I know they are freezer safe. Pack the butter into your containers and allow to cool slightly before popping into the freezer. 

REMEMBER- this is NOT a safe canning recipe, so please do not can it and store it on a shelf. Pumpkin puree is far too dense to safely can. It's easy enough to freeze, so don't put yourself at risk of potentially deadly botulism. Since it's not being processed it's a great way to reuse commercial jars too. I don't have to worry about a seal failure. You might hear the lids "ping" as the jars are cooling before popping in the freezer, but DO NOT assume that's a safe seal. It is NOT. Please freeze or refrigerate ALL the jars!!

*Let's talk for a minute about the pumpkin. I had home-canned pumpkin cubes so I used those. I used 6 quart jars with the liquid drained off. You can use commercially canned pumpkin or cook your own fresh pumpkin or butternut squash or a mix of pumpkin and winter squash. How many cans from the store? Just guess- you can see how full my crockpot is. Estimate- maybe 10-15 cups. How many pie pumpkins or squash to roast? Again, it's just an estimate. It's ok if you don't have as much pumpkin to start with, just lower the amount of sugar and spices you start with.

Now that you have this jar of autumn scented deliciousness, what do you do with it? It's fantastic on warm biscuits, buttery toast or waffles. Top a slice of cheesecake. Use your imagination!

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