Over a Cup: More pumpkin butter along with apple butter
This week’s column features another recipe for pumpkin butter. It’s a recipe “adapted” from one for an apple butter so this week readers get two recipes in all — one for “Spirited Apple Butter” and another for “Spirited Pumpkin Butter.” The recipes were sent in by Virginia Cromer, of Craig.
But first, I had a call from Iva Decker, of Craig, concerning information provided with last week’s recipe for “Pumpkin Butter.” Iva said that she doubted that the butter would keep in the refrigerator for three weeks, and she suggested that anyone making the butter consider freezing small amounts in bags, thawing the butter, and then using it right away. Iva, who grows pumpkins and squash in her garden, said that both cooked pumpkin and squash spoil rather quickly, even when refrigerated.
So then I called Karen Massey, family consumer science extension agent and director of Routt County Extension. Karen is also a registered dietician nutritionalist, and I call her sometimes when we have questions about food safety. She said that a custard-like mixture with eggs and/or milk shorten the shelf life of a product so pumpkin butter would probably last one to two weeks in the refrigerator without spoiling.
A person may wonder why pies can be left out (without refrigeration) in a grocery store. Pumpkin pies, for example, are made with shelf-stable ingredients that are pasteurized and contain preservatives. They have a suggested “use by” date.
According to Karen, in order to safely can pumpkin, it must be left cubed and pressure-canned, following a tested recipe. If pumpkin is pureed and then canned, the pulp is so dense that heat cannot penetrate the jar. Please check safety guidelines before canning pumpkin or squash products. (I did not check out the safety guidelines for canning apple butter in this week’s recipe.)
Spirited Apple Butter
1 can (12 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup sweet red wine or apple cider
4 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into fourths (about 3 quarts)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple brandy or apple cider
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Heat apple juice concentrate, wine and apples to boiling in a Dutch oven; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring constantly, until apples are very soft. Mash with a potato masher if necessary to remove all lumps.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until no liquid separates from the pulp.
Immediately pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars, seal. Cool on a rack 1 hour. Store in refrigerator up to 2 months. Use as a bread spread or in desserts.
Spirited Pumpkin Butter
Follow above recipe. Omit wine. Substitute 3 cans (16 ounces each) pumpkin for the apples. Increase brown sugar to 1 cup and cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Heat all ingredients to boiling in a Dutch oven, stirring frequently; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 1 hour, stirring frequently. Continue as directed in Step 3. (Please check current food safety guidelines.)
Source: Betty Crocker Cookbook. Submitted courtesy of Virginia Cromer.
If you have comments about pumpkin products or recipes that you would like to share with readers, please call me at 970-824-8809 or write to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig 81626. Thanks to Virginia, Iva, and Peggy.