I am lucky to have a friend that grows pumpkins. Not the huge, bright orange variety that soon everyone will be poking holes into and lighting up from the inside. The rich bounty from her garden comes in a bit more of a rustic form. I am also very fortunate because Amanda opened up her kitchen to Skyla and I one day and shared her method of making the most decadent pumpkin butter my taste buds have ever met.
As with so many food items that are easy to make, pumpkin butter is not challenging…it just takes time and freezer space. In fact most things that we replace with store bought, more processed varieties - bread, nut butters, mustard, pasta, hot sauce, spaghetti sauce, pesto - are not hard to make…its the cumulative time to make all these things that is the problem. With some planning, bulk-sized batches, and storage space though, it is possible.
If you’ve read many of my posts you know that avoiding sugar is always on my mind. For Skyla, I converted the traditional kid sandwich of PB & J into AB & PB (almond butter and pumpkin butter). In my veggie-obsessed mind I think, why miss an opportunity to feed veggies instead of fruit?! Up until this point, I have purchased our pumpkin butter. I am excited to be making our pumpkin butter instead…My version uses less sugar so isn’t quite as sweet as Amanda’s but I was able to adjust the ingredients to make something tasty and nutritious…and great with almond butter on a sandwich!
So with a shout out to Amanda, my pumpkin grower, and my sis-in-law, gingermantra, who accepted the challenge of eating unprocessed food for a month, I share my version of pumpkin butter. It makes a bit over 8 half-pints. Bon appetite!
- 1 6-lb pumpkin
- 2T cinnamon
- 1t ground cloves
- 1/2t allspice
- 1/3 c coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a processed ingredient but you could probably just add more apple juice if you want)
- 3 c unsweetened apple juice
- Cut the pumpkin(carefully!) in half and scoop out the seeds - scooping seeds is a great task for kids if you have the patience
- Cut the halves in half and place on a sheet pan, flesh side down, bake at 350 for a bit over an hour, or until soft
- Scoop out the pulp and put into a slow cooker, then add the rest of the ingredients (again, kids can help with these tasks too)
- Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (this may take a while)
- Cook on low setting for 8 hours or so, keeping the lid slightly off for most of the time so the pumpkin butter can thicken. I stirred every now and again but Amanda left hers overnight with fine results. Add more apple juice if it starts getting too thick.
- Place into sterilized jars. Unfortunately, pumpkin butter can not be canned but jars will keep in the fridge about a month and 6 months in the freezer.