Fruit butters (yes, pumpkin is technically a fruit) are the luxurious cousins of jams and jellies, and they’re even easier to make. For a butter, fruit is first cooked, then pureed, and then cooked down further to a paste consistency, without the use of pectins. You can’t beat their silky texture, or the flavor that is developed as the puree reduces down. Butters are generally lower in sugar than most preserves, and you can customize the type and amount of sweetener to suit your tastes and needs. Pumpkin butter is probably the easiest of all because when you use canned pumpkin puree the first step is done for you. On top of that I’ve developed this recipe to be made in the crock pot! All you have to do is add a bit of sweetener, some spices, and let it cook away for a few hours. Oh, and you’ll get some great bonus aromatherapy in the process.
Slather this generously on muffins, croissants, toast, or biscuits. It would be heavenly on a scone. I kept the spices light, I wanted the pumpkin flavor to shine through. My secret ingredient? The seeds of 1/2 of a vanilla bean. It’s a nice touch. Two cans of pumpkin puree make just about 2 cups of butter. I spooned my butter into small WECK JARS that hold about 3/4 cup each. I think they’d make great gifts.
- 2 15 oz cans of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider (or apple juice)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp (maybe more) freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or the seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
- Whisk together all the ingredients and put into the crock pot. Turn on LOW and cook for one hour.
- Stir the contents and then cook for another 2 hours, with the lid partially open. Stir the butter every once in a while. It is done when it is reduced by about half, and thick enough to run your spoon across the bottom without the pumpkin running back into the space.
- Crock pots vary a bit, so your butter might take a little more or less time.
- This step is OPTIONAL, but I like to pass the puree through a mesh strainer before I put it in jars. It just makes it a touch silkier. Push the puree through the sieve firmly with the back of a large spoon to get as much through as possible. Scrape the spoon along the outside of the strainer to release the thick puree.
- Spoon the butter into one jar, or several smaller jars and let cool. Then cap tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for about 10 days in the refrigerator and 6 months in the freezer. If you plan to freeze it, leave at least 1/2 inch at the top of each jar for expansion as it freezes.
recipe adapted from Tablespoon
- You can use fresh pumpkin puree for this, I have the instructions HERE. But in my experience, the canned puree is just as good, and so it is not worth the extra effort to make it from scratch. It’s interesting to note that canned pumpkin is nutritionally superior, as well. If you do use fresh pumpkin puree, your cooking time may be a bit longer.
- There are tons of variations on this. If you’d like to skip the refined sugar, use maple sugar, maple syrup, or any sweetener you’d like. Basically you can taste as you go and adjust it to your liking.
- The straining process is completely optional. I just like that added bit of silkiness that results from straining.
- If you would like to can the butter, spoon it into sterile jars, up to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rims, screw on the tops, and put in a canning bath for 20 minutes. Be aware that it is recommended to store pumpkin butter in the refrigerator or freezer even after canning because there is not enough acid or sugar to make it shelf stable.
If I’ve convinced you to try fruit butters, definitely give my unusual CRANBERRY BUTTER a try, it’s made in the crock pot too!