Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin butter made from fresh pumpkins is delicious. It doesn’t taste the same nor does it have the bland texture that pumpkin butter made from commercial packed  pumpkin has. It’s extra effort to cook and prepare the fresh pumpkin instead of just opening a can, but I think that the finished product is more than worth it.

If you want to make pumpkin butter from fresh pumpkins it is done in two parts.

  • In the first part of the process you must cook the pumpkin and puree it.
  • The second part is the actual cooking of the butter.

There are a few different ways that you can cook and peel pumpkin. I cook pumpkin in a pressure cooker because it’s the fastest and the easiest way. Some people use a microwave oven but boiling the pumpkin will work too. So will cooking it in a conventional oven until it’s soft. The point is to cook the pumpkin and then get the rind off so you can easily puree it. Use whatever method works best for you.
With that said here’s I make pumpkin butter.
Gather fresh pumpkins from the garden.The smaller pie type pumpkins taste the best. So save the big ones for Jack ‘O Lanterns.

The Right Size For Pumpkin Butter

Small Pumpkins

Wash the pumpkins well and cut them in half. Scoop out the seeds and cut them into pieces big enough to fit inside a 6 quart pressure cooker.

Cut Pumpkin In Pressure Cooker

Cut Pumpkins To A Size To Fit In A Pressure Cooker

Pressure cook the pumpkin pieces for 9 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure. Quick cool the pressure cooker by placing it in the sink and run cold water over it.
The pressure cooker method is very quick and cooks the pumpkin to perfection and the rind easily peels off.
Place the cooked pumpkin into a bowl and mash it.

Cooked Pumpkin

Cooked Pumpkin

Then put it through a food mill to puree it. Some cooks prefer to use a food processor or a blender to puree pumpkin because it makes it smoother and creamier. But I use a food mill because it’s what’s in my kitchen.
Once the pumpkin is puree it’s time to move on to the second step.
In a large pot mix together:

  • 3 cups of puree pumpkin
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • and just a bit of red pepper for bite.

Depending upon the thickness of the mixture cook the pumpkin mixture over a low to medium heat for about 30 – 45 minutes or until it rounds up nicely on a spoon. Stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking or scorching.

Rounding Up On A Spoon

Pumpkin Butter Rounding Up On A Spoon

When thick as you like, ladle it while boiling hot into clean and hot 1/2 pints jars. Leave a 1/4″ head space in the jar.
Apply a band and a new lid to the jar. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.
After 15 minutes remove the jars and allow them to cool on a towel undisturbed for 8 hours.
When the jars are completely cooled remove the band and check the seal.

Most often I will triple or quadruple the above recipe. The yield is about 4 half pints of pumpkin butter for every 3 cups of pumpkin that I use.

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter and Apple Butter Cool After Canning

Just so you know since the mid 1990′s there has been a controversy in regards to the safety of home canning pumpkin butter. Nowadays home canning pumpkin butter is not recommended by canning authorities and experts.
As far as I can tell the safety issue is a theoretical one. In theory because pumpkin is a low acid food, the only safe way to can it would be with a pressure canner. But the difference with pumpkin butter is that the pH is radically altered with the addition of lots of sugar and lemon juice.

The heavy sugar content and acidic lemon juice makes the pumpkin butter safe to can via the boiling water bath method – or at least that’s what everybody thought and did before somebody wrote a food science paper in the late 1970′s and then again in the 1990′s and freaked out home canners everywhere.
Apparently there is a possibility that you could get botulism from water bathed pumpkin butter. So these days experts are telling home canners to freeze their pumpkin butter or store it in the refrigerator.
You do what you think is best with your pumpkin butter. But as for me, I’m hopelessly stuck in my ways and haven’t died yet from poisoned pumpkin butter.