Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Recipe - Pumpkinfest

So what did I do the weekend after gorging myself on two big Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday? Well, cook of course!

Christmas this year is going to be a lot of homemade stuff. I'd already made apple butter, and decided I was going to try my hand at pumpkin butter (I had some from the farmer's market that was delicious). So, Wednesday afternoon I headed to my local farmstand. And they had only one pumpkin left. I hadn't realized that pumpkins are nearly past season, but apparently it's so. And I should've taken a picture with this pumpkin, because it was an 18lb monster.

Saturday morning, I cut up the pumpkin into manageable pieces and popped it in the oven to bake (after having only once cut up and de-skinned a large pumpkin to make soup, I'm NEVER doing that every again, for the health of my poor hands and shoulders. Cutting up a raw pumpkin is HARD!). But because the pumpkin was so large, it took two shifts in the oven and about three hours total. I scooped the pumpkin out of the shells and put it in the fridge while I went off to enjoy the rest of my day.

On returning home around 9 or 9:30 with some DVDs and some hard-found mason jars (apparently these are going out of season too), I mixed up the seasonings into the pumpkin because it says to let it sit and marinate for 8-10 hours. Watched Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Cute movie. Set spiced pumpkin on the counter to marinate overnight. I put it on the stove around 9:30a to cook down while I made eggplant parm (with farmer's market kale and mushroom instead of spinach and portabello). I finally started bottling the pumpkin butter around 4p. If you follow the recipe below, it will take much less time than that. I made a quadruple recipe (the original recipe said it would take about 1 hour to cook down), and it made 12 jars of butter.

Pumpkin Butter

3 1/2 cups of fresh and canned (unspiced) pumpkin
2 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup water
juice and zest of one lemon
T cinnamon
t ginger (I ran out, so barely had any in there, and it came out fine)
t allspice

Bake the pumpkin in the oven until soft and scoop out contents into a bowl. Depending on the size of the pumpkin, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

Mix all ingredients except water into the pumpkin and let stand in room temperature for 8-10 hours.

Put spiced pumpkin in a large pot on the stove and add water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced down to jam consistency. I had more trouble figuring out when this happened with the pumpkin butter because it was naturally chunkier than the apple butter (which I had smoothed out in a food mill). Definitely set aside some time for this part of the process. If you're making the recipe above, it might be quick, because the original recipe did say it would take about 1 hour. However, both times I've made jam (in admittedly large batches), it has taken me the majority of the day. If you're unsure whether it's the right consistency, try spreading some on bread to test it out.

There are a lot of different methods of canning. Some boil the jars into a big pot, pulling them out with tongs. Some run them through a dishwasher. One of the suggested methods I found works well for me - it's to put the jars opening side up in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes. While they're sterilizing in the oven, I put the lids in boiling water. Then with tongs, I take out one jar at a time, fill it with pumpkin butter, and set it on the counter. I then fish out one of the lids, dry it off with a clean cloth, and close the jar tightly. Then tip the jar upside down on the counter to cool (I'm told that doing this will help the seal because the butter is right next to the jar top).

1 comment:

Crabby McSlacker said...

That pumpkin butter sounds awesome.

And I liked Mrs Pettigrew too! Wish there were more movies like that.