Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crock Pot Classics: Pumpkin Butter

This time of the year everything is pumpkin something. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin patches. I am one of those people that is particular about my pumkpkin flavored beverages. I prefer homemade* or Starbucks Pumpkin Spice coffee by far over the sweeter, milkier Dunkin' Donuts. I used to love Olive Garden's pumpkin cheesecake but I have burned out on it. Its still good though, if you haven't tried it.

Another pumpkin season tradition around our house is Pumpkin Butter. Think apple butter made with pumpkins. Its amazing on toast or scones or off the spoon or on pancakes or any way you can think of. The list could go on and on. Its the perfect texture and the perfect mix of spices and actual pumpkin that makes it a real treat. It also makes a great gift type thing for teachers or neighbors. I made a huge batch of it this year so that I could share its wonders with the world. Of course what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't also share it with you. Well, share the recipe with you. At least until teleportation is invented and then I will send it that way to anyone that wants some. Deal?

This recipe is particularly hard to really screw up. Sometimes I cook it on high and just stir more often, sometimes I do it on low and get the same result. This isn't a set it and forget it type recipe though so be sure you are going to be around the house for a few hours before starting it. You can cook and use your own pumpkins if you want. Just be sure to mash it really well before you start cooking or you'll have chunky butter. Which is still tasty, just chunky. Because I'm lazy, I use canned pumpkin.

What you'll need:
2 15oz cans of canned pumpkin (or about 3 cups of homemade pumpkin smash)
The juice of one lemon
3 cups of brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pour it all into your crock pot and set it on low (or high) and cover with the lid. Let it cook on low for at least an hour while covered and then remove the lid for the rest of the cooking. It will need to be stirred about every 15- 30 minutes for a few hours depending on your crock pot. You will notice the butter getting darker and thicker. My best suggestion is to let it get darker and then just keep tasting it to see when it tastes best to you. It will thicken a little as it cools too.
Not the best picture but you can see the color difference here.
I usually just put all of it in a huge Rubbermaid container and stick it the fridge to cool before doling it out into smaller containers to hand out or freeze. You can also can it and it will keep pretty much forever. In the freezer it stays good about 6-8 months and it stays good for a pretty good while in the fridge too as long as you are sure to use a clean spoon and not double dip (contamination cha-cha-cha).

*Homemade pumpkin spice coffee: add pumpkin spice to your coffee grounds before you brew it. Rocket science, I know. Thank me later.

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