Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Butter side up

A spate of pumpkins sits on our "harvest table" on the front patio.  A couple of standard oranges and several marina de chioggia variety.  Not the most inspiring looking pumpkin on the outside, I assure you.  One of the orange samples came off the vine prematurely as we were attempting to elevate the fruit off of the ground.  As such, I designated it the test pumpkin and yesterday got cool enough to roast it up.  Split, seeded and into the oven at 350F until a knife inserts easily into the flesh.

Once cooled, I scooped the flesh from the skin, and deposited it safely in my Crockpot.  It was a bit more fibrous than I had hoped (or wanted), but a determined treatment with the Bamix with chopping blade made satisfactory work of most of the longer strands, although I did end up removing a half dozen or so clumps over the course of the cooking.

 ~5 quarts of pumpkin puree

Once everything was satisfactorily processed, I added the sugars and spices and stirred them in, setting the Crockpot to high and topping with the lid, elevated on chopsticks placed across the mouth of the cooker (to allow water to evaporate from the butter).

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Mixed in

After the butter began to bubble, I turned the Crockpot to low and cooked overnight plus 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.  The butter reduced to 20-25% of original volume, a deep rich brown collection of deliciousness.  I once again treated the butter to the immersion blender, this time with the blender blade in order to finish off any lingering strands of fiber as well smooth consistency of the finished butter.  

Unfortunately, due to it's low acidity and high viscosity, pureed pumpkin and squash is not well suited to safe home canning.  The low acidity makes boiling water treatment unfeasible, and the high viscosity/density makes pressure canning ineffective, as the puree is inconsistent in reaching the necessary core temperature for safety.  Because of this, preservation should be limited to refrigerator for short term storage and freezer for long term.  So, once my pumpkin butter was cooled I transferred it to containers and into the fridge for final cooling before a trip to the freezer (with a little set aside for tomorrow's toast).

Good enough to eat

Crockpot Pumpkin Butter

5qt pumpkin puree
1 C packed dark brown sugar
2 C granulated sugar (if using a more suitable/mature pumpkin, this amount could be reduced to 1 C)
2 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp each ground cloves, allspice, and ginger
1/4 tsp fresh shaved nutmeg

  • Place puree in crockpot (or make in crockpot if using an immersion blender).
  • Add spices and sugar and stir in to puree.
  • Cook on high until beginning to bubble.  Reduce heat to low, cover with an elevated lid and cook 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Place cooled butter in clean containers and store in refrigerator and/or freezer.
Serve on toast, mixed in to yogurt or cottage cheese, or over the top of ice cream or cake.

No comments:

Post a Comment