Canning: Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter is absolutely glorious, but, alas, it technically shouldn’t be canned and stored on a shelf. Because mashed pumpkin is very dense and not acidic enough, there’s too much risk of botulism from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can make you very sick. The technical part is that even in pressure canning, because pumpkin is so dense, the contents may not reach the 240 degrees necessary to kill the bacteria’s spores, and it’s not acidic enough to keep the bacteria at bay.

So to play it safe and still enjoy your pumpkin butter, make this for the fridge, and be sure to use it up within two months, or freeze it to keep it longer.

Start with a rather large pie-type pumpkin, or two smallish pie pumpkins.  Knock off the stem(s) and place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Then slice through the middle and scoop out the seeds.

Next, scoop out and measure 4-5 cups of pulp. If it’s been roasted long enough, this should be an easy step. At this point, if you wanted to make truly homemade pumpkin pie, you could use the mashed pulp  as your beginning rather than a can!

Blend this pulp with up to 2 cups apple cider, just enough to make it the consistency of smooth baby food (still pourable, though).

In a crockpot, add 2 cups brown sugar (or to taste), 3 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger and 1 teaspoon cloves to the puree. Stir all together, and heat over low heat until volume is decreased by 1/3 – 1/2.

Ladel into hot, clean jars (makes about 3-4 cups).  Seal and store in refrigerator.  Be sure to date jar and use by that date.  If you make up a batch of this in October it should last through Thanksgiving; if you make one in November it should last through Christmas.  It tastes like a slice of pumpkin pie when you spread it on toast.

I also made up a batch of pumpkin butter using lime juice and apple cider vinegar to decrease the pH and make it more acid, but I need to tweak it a bit more before it’s ready to post . . . um, just tasted it, and it might be a quite a while before its postable . . .maybe next year? . . .

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