Last year, I convinced the husband that we needed three pumpkins from Stew Leonard's for Halloween. I mean - come on! There were three of us...it just seemed fair.
I need to stop here and ask you a question. You know how when you're at a huge warehouse store and a two pound package of yeast looks small? Because there's nothing really small to compare it to?
Alright - keep that in mind.
When we got our pumpkins home and weighed them, we realized we had just purchased slightly upwards of 100 pounds of pumpkin.
Can I get an oof?!
Then, to add to the Crazy, I was called out of town and couldn't be here for Halloween. We didn't even carve them.
I was told, in no uncertain terms, that if I didn't follow through on my promise to process and preserve all 100 pounds of pumpkin, I would be In Trouble.
I'm a smart girl, so I set aside a few days and dutifully cut, steamed, peeled, pureed, drained, bagged and froze all three pumpkins. I even roasted as many seeds as I thought we could eat! For the rest of the winter, you could be pretty sure that if I was invited to a party, I was going to show up with my Pumpkin Bread in tow.
Well, now that it's October, I figured that I ought to clear the last of that pumpkin out of my freezer, to make way for the new pumpkins I'm going to talk Lo Gung into buying this year! (Luckily, Stew's pumpkins seem noticeably smaller this year. Phew! Because now? There are four of us.) I had five baggies of pumpkin left in the freezer, which I threw in the crock pot on high until they were thawed. At that point, I added some spices, left the cover off, and let the slow cooker work its magic!
I kind of winged this, but I really like how it turned out. A lot of recipes online call for the addition of applesauce or apple juice, which would probably add a nice depth of flavour to this spread. However, as is, it's lovely spread on fresh bread. Even Siu Jeun likes it, straight from a spoon!
Please note - There are no safe ways approved to can pureed pumpkin at home - the mixture is simply too thick to achieve the correct germ-killing temperature. This pumpkin butter is a strictly keep-it-in-the-fridge-and-eat-it thing, or freeze it.
Aunt LoLo's Pumpkin Butter
Makes 2-3 pints
10 cups Pumpkin Puree (If you are using puree made from jack o' lantern pumpkins, you can shave quite a bit of time off of this project if you first drain the pumpkin for a few hours in a tea-towel lined colander.)
2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground Ginger
3/4 cup brown sugar, or to taste,
In a slow cooker, combine the pumpkin, cinnamon and ground ginger. Turn the cooker to high, and leave the lid off. Stir every hour or so. I found that, since my cooker heats all around the pot (as opposed to just on the bottom), I could move the process along by smearing my pumpkin around the inside of the pot, up the edges.
When the pumpkin butter has reached the desired consistency, sweeten to taste with the brown sugar and pack it into sterile containers (jars or plastic containers with lids). Store it in the refrigerator or freezer. (Freezer would be long term storage - anything over two weeks.)
I should add that my pumpkin was a little on the chunky side - I wasn't very careful about pureeing it last fall. To compensate for that, I let the pumpkin butter cool and then ran it through my food processor before packing it away.