Thursday, October 7, 2010

Plentiful Pumpkin Butter

Good morning Jammers, hope you all slept well. I am LOVING this weather. I think I will head outside tomorrow and give the grass one final mow for the season then put the mower to bed for the winter. Maybe I’ll find a beach towel to cover it with, in the shed, kind of like a blanket for it to sleep with for the few cold months that we get. I want it to be happy when we pull it out in the spring. We just bought it earlier this year, so it‘s still new to us. I guess you could say, we take good care of what we have around here, which is something else I learned from Mabert. Things last so much longer if you really take good care of them. On that note, I have noticed that the rack inside the new canner is already becoming discolored (it is metal). It looks like oxidation and is blackening and almost rusty is some spots…I wonder if it’s the vinegar that I am adding to the water? I dry it out each time. The canner itself is coated and it looks brand new, still. So, any thoughts from my scientific readers? Suggestions, tips?

One of my favorite jams is actually a butter, pumpkin butter. Butters do not have actual butter in them (other than the ½ teaspoon that I add to every batch I make to help the foam issue) but instead the term refers to a texture that is achieved by cooking it a long time. Lots of recipes I have seen use a slow cooker to cooking them in. When I decided to start this journey down the canning road, I checked out tons of books from the library and copied and compiled all the recipes that I wanted to try out. One thing I noticed that was missing from most of those books was pumpkin butter. It did appear in some of the older books, but not in the newer ones. So I turned to the web for some research, my normal response to any question I have, anymore. There are plenty of recipes out there on the web but I also found why it is not listed in the books. Apparently, the USDA changed it’s recommendations on canning mashed or pureed pumpkin (and winter squash) back in the late 80’s and revised them in the early 90’s. Now they do not recommend it at all, due to the varying viscosity, acid levels and water activity in each individual batch. Pumpkin and squash are low acid foods and are capable of supporting the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause botulism, if not carefully stored. Hummm, debates are all over the web about this topic and apparently have been for years. I would never want to make anyone sick so I thought my solution was pretty smart…I’ll use canned pumpkin! I checked the label and it said it was pasteurized so that should help. I did find a recipe that calls for canned pumpkin and it was the easiest and fastest of any of the recipes I have done so far and WOW, it tastes great too. Perfect, just like I remember it.

Remember, when crafting anything in your kitchen, to properly focus your thoughts and intentions and infuse your creation. Light a candle, get in the mood and REALLY want to be making whatever it may be, at that time. Trust me, no one will want to eat it if you didn’t want to make it! Yucko. Now, the properties of pumpkins include fertility, abundance and being plentiful and lighting a Jack-O-Lantern on All Hallows Eve is said to bring luck to your home. They symbolize harvest and bounty, bringing to mind the fall season and Thanksgiving. They remind me to be thankful for everything I have and everything I am. The spices in this butter all carry many properties but I focus (for this recipe) on the cinnamon for spirituality, power and healing. The nutmeg for health and fidelity and the ginger for power and success. I like burning an autumn spice candle on my prep board while working with pumpkin but a vanilla one will do, in a pinch. My patron Goddess of my hearth is always thanked and acknowledged with the quick anointing of my wrists with pure vanilla or I have some perfume-oil that is vanilla. My son LOVES the smell and many times I will find him right beside me for this part. His grin goes from ear-to-ear just sniffing vanilla and his eyes will almost roll back in his head…he almost gets dizzy looking. I blessed my jars of this yummy butter with abundance, among other things, and am calling this my Plentiful Pumpkin Butter. May your cupboards never be bare and you always have plenty of NOT what you want but plenty of just what you need!

Plentiful Pumpkin Butter 

3 ½ cups canned solid pack pumpkin
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups sugar
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 3oz pouch liquid pectin

Preheat canner and prepare jars and lids. In an 8qt pan combine the pumpkin and spices, stirring until smooth and well blended. Gradually stir in both sugars and the butter. Over medium-low heat, heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugars are dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full rolling boil, still stirring constantly. Stir in contents of pectin pouch and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring all-the-while.

Remove pan from heat and quickly skim off any foam (mine did not have any) from the top. Ladle the butter into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings, turning the rings until just finger-tight. Place the jars in the preheated canner and bring canner to a full rolling boil. Process jars for 10 minutes (adjusting according to your altitude, if necessary) then remove canner from heat. Let canner sit for 5 minutes, then, carefully remove hot jars from water with a jar lifter and place them on a towel on the counter and leave them undisturbed until the seals have popped and the jars are cooled. Store them in the refrigerator use within 4 months.

Makes about 7 half pint jars.

This came out FABULOUS! Perfect texture and blend of spices. The color is beautiful…now, MY pictures do not do it justice. The one thing I am beginning to see is that I need a better camera for photographing my shots. I need to work with better lighting, too. The flash is too bright and if the flash is off, they are fuzzy looking. Now, I have to learn to be a photographer to be a writer…go figure!

I’m considering some of the debates that I saw about the safety of canning pureed pumpkin and one thing that all, pretty much, agreed on was that you CAN make it. It just has to be kept refrigerated (or frozen) and used within a few months. This sounds like a good recommendation, to me, so I made it part of my recipe.

Another consideration I’m giving is hosting a giveaway. I’ve seen other bloggers doing this and it seems to be a real hit. I was contacted today by the company that does it, thanks to a new co-blogger friend, Andrea (a big shout-out to her, of ). I will post the details as soon as I make a decision. Do any of you have any experiences with hosting or winning a blog giveaway? I’d love some feedback. Email me if you want or post your feedback to the Facebook page.

Ok, keep your eyes open and check back often. I still have the apple butter to post and I spent today trying 2 new batches, lavender (wait till you see the color on this) jelly and raspberry lavender jam. I’ll be busy typing them out over the next few days. I swear, this is like an addiction for me…I can’t stop! I found a recipe online for beer jam (yes, dark beer) posted at that I want to modify and try. I think the guys may like it, maybe a Guinness? Seasoned with citrus, cinnamon and cardamom. Head over there to check it out and I will post my version after I make it. What a collection it will make…sangria jam, Riesling jam, white zin jam and beer jam…what’s next, I ask?

Apple butter will be posted next, so, till then, remember to Be Blessed and Be Sweet!


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

You've been a busy jammer!! I can't wait to see all that you've created :)

Regarding the pumpkin, awesome idea to use canned!! I was also thinking that if I make pumpkin butter that I'll process it in my pressure canner, that is the preferred method for low acid foods. And since I have it, why not, right? :)

Regarding giveaways, I've hosted 1, it was quite successful. I've won a few of them, too, and that's always fun!! The ones that I've won included food items like candied jalapenos, raspberry marshmallows, coupons for yogurt & a reuseable shopping bag, spices & herbs, just to name a few :) Winning is so much fun - and it really gives me inspiration to hold more giveaways on my own blog.

Speaking of which, thanks for the shout out! :-) Blessed be!

Amanda Bowyer said...

Hello, I found your posting interesting. I am a food safety advisor volunteer with the University of Idaho. We do not reccomned canning pumking butters when we have classes. I'm going to bring up your post in my next class this month. I don't know what they will say, but I'll try. They recommend like you said in your post to keep it in the frige or frozen.

Suzanne said...

Thanks Andrea! I am moving forward with the giveaway and it should be posted in the next few days.

Amanda - Thanks for reading and I am interested to hear the follow-up so make sure to let me know!