I enjoy making and giving (the giving more than the making, truth be told) homemade gifts every year. For one thing, it allows me to sidestep the consumeristic merry go round of the holiday season, for another, it allows me to give soemthing special to people I might normally be unable to express my appreciation for (like, my boss).
In past years its been lemon-scented blueberry sauce (which has often been thick enough to call jam) and stone fruit chutney. (The links are to the recipes in case you wantt o chekc them out.)
This year it is Pumpkin Butter. My recipe transforms ordinary (albeit yummy) pumpkin into a thick spread that is quite reminiscent of pumpkin pie. As the accompanying card says:
This pumpkin butter is sweet, and spicy,
but contains no fat. Enjoy!
I made enough to share with my gaming group, my delightful masseuse, some for the house (I keep the not-so-perfect ones and this year a couple of jars didn’t seal perfectly — into the fridge they go!), my family and a few (lucky) people at the office.
Here’s the recipe:
9 cups pumpkin, cooked, cooled, and mashed until smooth*
2 Tbl cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
4 cups sugar
Place all ingredients into crockpot, stir to combine well.
Cover crockpot loosely and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours (depending on how thick you like the butter to be). I left mine to cook overnight. Note: the lid must be ajar to allow moisture to escape, this means that you may get a lot of splatter all around the crockpot. I covered the nearby area with a towel and cleanup was minimal.
Wash jars in the dishwasher, or by hand, and then place in boiling water for at least five minutes before filling. Place lids in boiling water for five minutes before using as well. (There is a device, a ‘lid lifter wand’ that is useful here — its a pencil-length piece of heat-resistant plastic with a strong magnet on the end.)
Place jars on a towel on a heavy cookie sheet. Take to crockpot and fill to within 1/4 of the top. Seat the lid and tighten the ring. Listen to the ‘pop-ding’ sound of the jar sealing itself. When completely cool, freeze (for long-term storage) or refrigerate. Shelf life is 6 months.
Since I was mailing these, I decided to also water process them for increased safety.
* Using ‘sugar’ or ‘pie’ pumkins is best.