Friday, November 21, 2008

From Pumpkin to Pumpkin Butter

So you say you've got a decorative pumpkin left over from Halloween and you're not sure what to do with it? Well, assuming you left it whole and didn't carve it up, you can probably cook it! If you bought a pie pumpkin, or sugar pumpkin or one that was also good for eatin' and not just lookin', you're in luck! Yumminess is around the corner for you, so long as you're willing to do a little work first. If your pumpkin was a regular carving pumpkin that you just left whole or painted, it's probably too watery to be tasty. Ask your farmer when shopping whether the pumpkin you are getting is edible instead of just decorative.

Take this 12 lb Cinderella type pumpkin that we grew out on the farm: it's called 'Rouge Vif D'etampes' and I'm going to turn it into something yummy. Several somethings, actually. Twelve pounds is a lot of pumpkin!

First we need to cut it up.

Scrape out the innards (I like to use a grapefruit spoon.), reserving the seeds.

You can roast the seeds with salt or you can use them in another recipe.

Cut the pieces in half and lay them flat on a cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and roast those pumpkin slices until they are tender and a fork slides easily into the flesh; about 1 hour.

Scrape the flesh from the peel and compost the skins and innards.

Strain the cooked flesh in a sieve for a few hours to drain off the excess water.

You don't want your fresh pumpkin to be too watery or else anything else you make with it will also be watery. This is the amount of liquid I collected after 1 hour.

Puree the strained pumpkin flesh in a blender or food processor.

Now you're ready to cook!

Pumpkin Butter
From Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, p. 482.
Makes about 3 3/4 cups.

One 29 oz can pumpkin puree (Or in our case, use 30 oz of fresh pumpkin puree. I hate how can sizes are shrinking, don't you?)
1 1/4 c firmly packed light browm sugar
1/2 c mild honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3/4 tsp apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice*
  1. Put all ingredients in slow cooker and stir with a spatula until well mixed. Don't worry about lumps of sugar, they'll melt during cooking. Scrape down the sides. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the lid and let cook on high for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour to reach the desired thickness. (Due to our elevation, I always add more time.)
  3. Turn off the cooker and let the pumpkin butter cool to room temperature in the crock. Scrape with spatula into glass jars. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Or transfer to plastic containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sounds like a Christmas gift, doesn't it? Or something to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

After all that work, from a 12 lb pumpkin, I made 103 oz of pumpkin puree.

Just over 6 lbs or about seven 15 oz cans worth of pumpkin puree (But no trash!). There were also 5.2 oz of seeds, which after washing and picking over came down to 1.7 oz of edible seeds and 3 1/3 cups of pumpkin "juice" from straining the squash.

Not sure what I can do with the juice yet. If I was Harry Potter I'd just sweeten it and drink it, but that sounds a bit odd to me. I may just water the compost with it.

Oh, and don't forget the sink full of dishes,

the pair of pumpkin cranberry breads,

and the pumpkin butter.

Which is what started this whole thing in the first place.

The metamorphosis of food is a fantastic thing, isn't it?

* Don't have any on hand? Make your own! Mix together and seal in an airtight spice jar:
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
I found the recipe here.


East End Jenn said...

Impressive! I want to try this when we grow pumpkins next year.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

It's yummy! And easy, too. I think I've become a crock pot fan!

Ali said...

See, I was with you until Dish Mountain...

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Ali: Dish mountain is easily scalable if you wash them in between cook times. Unfortunately, during those periods I had to go chase twins, so the dishes piled up. Also, with a smaller pumpkin, it would have been 1 strainer, 1 bowl and 1 cookie sheet instead of 4 strainers, 4 bowls and 2 sheets.

See? Totally do-able! : )

Besides, babies LIKE pumpkin. Mmm!

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