Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin time

Some of us are mildly in love with the pumpkin. In the last few weeks I have done a lot more with this beloved squash than carve jack-o-lanterns.
I have scooped out the top of tiny pumpkins to turn them into fun votives, I have made pumpkin ice cream, and tonight I made pumpkin butter. mmmmm pumpkin butter. Pumpkin butter is a lot like apple butter, but with pumpkin pie spices and pumpkin rather than apples. It tastes delicious spread on toast or pancakes, or even poured over vanilla ice cream.
Here's how you make it:

3 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup apple juice
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger

In a sauce pan combine all ingredients and mix well. Cook over low heat for at least 1 hour or until mixture is thick. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or up to 6 months in the freezer. Feel free to adjust spices to your personal liking.
*The USDA does not recommend canning pumpkin puree products.

To make your own pumpkin puree, start with 2 sugar pumpkins. Cut the pumpkins in half and scoop out seeds. Place pumpkins face down in a roasting pan, cover roasting pan with foil, and bake at 350 for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the flesh is very soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh away from skin, and puree in a food processor until completely smooth.

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