Pumpkin Butter Recipes

These pumpkin butter recipes are a delicious answer if you've been wondering what to do with leftover pumpkin.


| September/October 1980


For a good many years I regretted—but thought unavoidable—the waste that occurred when I'd have to cut open (and thus expose to spoilage) a huge pumpkin or winter squash in order to make a few pies. The dilemma was solved recently, though, when I came across "pumpkin butter" and pumpkin butter recipes. It's a treat that's both delicious and easy to store.

To make 15 to 17 quarts of the versatile spread, you'll need 40 pounds of pumpkin or squash (cooked and pureed), 2 1/2 to 3 quarts of honey, 6 tablespoons of cinnamon, 4 teaspoons of nutmeg, and 4 teaspoons of ground cloves.

Make sure the fruit is free of dirt, then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and the stringy insides. If the pumpkin or squash you're using has a tough skin, the easiest way to cook it is to simply bake the two sections in the oven at 325°F until they're very soft ... and then remove the "meat" from the shells with a big spoon.

However, if you're going to use a food mill—rather than a blender—to process the pulp (and, surprisingly, I've found the hand-operated strainer to be the more time-efficient device), you may want to cut soft-skinned varieties in 2" chunks and bake the pieces. (If you don't have access to an oven, just put the cubes into your canner—along with an inch or two of water—and steam them until they're done. My nine-quart canner will hold about 40 pounds if it's packed full. So I'd estimate that one of the more common seven-quart canners can be used to hold about 30 pounds of butter-to-be.)

Thick and Luscious

When your pumpkin or squash is fully cooked, puree it (using either a blender or a food mill, as you prefer), put the yellow-orange liquid into your canner or a big kettle (until the container is about half full), and start it cooking. Pumpkin butter, you'll find, can be prepared in only an hour or two ... a fraction of the time required to process apple butter. When the spread starts to thicken, add the honey and spices (which will turn the mixture a golden brown) and taste-test to see whether it pleases your palate. Now let the sauce simmer—stirring it every so often to prevent sticking—and when it's thick enough to support an upright wooden spoon, you're ready to freeze the puree.

The United States Dept. of Agriculture no longer recommends canning pumpkin butters and purees for food safety reasons. Learn more at http://goo.gl/uGTyDW.

blacksheep
11/11/2013 4:06:20 PM

I see this is an older article, but I think you should take it down. Safe canning guidelines (for instance, nchfp.uga.edu) say not to try to can pumpkin butter, under any circumstances. It can be done safely in commercial settings, but not by home canners. Just reading the recipe, I can't see how the pH could possibly be down to the 4.6 to be safe to eat after only 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Homemade pumpkin butter can be safely kept frozen. Pumpkin chunks can be canned at home, hot-packed, in a pressure canner. Don't try to preserve pumpkin puree or butter, it's not worth the risk.






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