I’ve spent the last 24 hours or so making pumpkin butter.
That’s not entirely accurate, but it works.
Pumpkin butter is made the same way you make other fruit butters, although – probably because even steamed pumpkin isn’t all that juicy compared to a lot of fruits – it tends to get “buttery” faster than, say, apples or peaches. What I mean to say is that, while it takes roughly the same amount of time for the fruit pulp to “cook down”, less of the pulp itself is water, so you end up with a little more fruit butter than you would, otherwise.
In this case, six cups of steamed pie-pumpkin cooked down to about four cups of pumpkin butter, despite the use of a liquid sweetener for the majority of the sugar-content. I’m planning on using some of it in wintery desserts – think hot crepes with whipped cream, dark chocolate drizzle, and pumpkin butter for Imbolg or Valentine’s Day – but will probably also give some away as hostess gifts while I’m in Toronto over Thanksgiving.
Here’s the recipe:
6 C steamed pie-pumpkin
1 C maple syrup
1/2 C granulated OR brown sugar
2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional – I didn’t use it, but it might be nice)
1) Throw everything into a slow-cooker
2) Turn the slow-cooker onto it’s HIGH setting. Leave the lid askew so that what water there is can slowly evaporate. Let it cook for about six hours.
3) Give it a stir every hour or so, scrape down the sides, and generally keep things from starting to burn to the bottom or get too crunchy on the top
4) After six hours (or not – keep an eye on the consistency because YMMV and also you may like your fruit butters thicker – or saucier – than I like mine) sterilize four 1C jars (or 8 half-cup jars, or a mixture of the two), plus their caps and rings, in a boiling-water/steam bath
5) Using a wide-mouth funnel (not required, but it makes things a lot easier), scoop the butter into your sterilized jars
6) Cap the jars and process them for a good ten minutes in a boiling-water/steam bath
7) Allow your jars to cool. You’ll hear the “plunk” as the lids seal. (If they don’t do this, just eat the butter up within a couple of weeks, and make sure to store it in the fridge. Or re-process it. Either way).
So there you have it. Pumpkin butter.
I find that, because this is made with winter squash – a savoury fruit, if you will – the fruit butter is more complexly flavoured (there’s umami in there, and an earthiness that tempers the sweetness) than others.
What are you doing with your pumpkins this year?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 This was approximately two tiny pie pumpkins plus one large-ish one, for those keeping track. Based on this, I’m guessing that a medium-sized pie-pumpkin would yield about three cups of steamed pulp.
 Fruit butters have a lower pH than jam and jelly. And pumpkin isn’t exactly the most acidic thing out there. Do not skip the vinegar!