Pumpkin Butter

I stop at produce markets all over the US but my favorites are always the ones that use the honor system and have a little bucket or box to drop your money in. It seems to me that anyone who uses the honor system to make a living probably lives a life of character.  And it gives me a warm, heartfelt invitation to share with them whatever I can.   So it was with a full heart that I stopped at a  produce stand as I was traveling through Wisconsin, picked out my produce and dropped the money into the bucket. Just about that time, a horse and buggy pulled up with more produce to restock the stand. I had a wonderful visit with the farmer and he invited me to his home which sat on 60 beautiful acres in the hilly countryside.  I met his wife who humbly showed me the apple and pumpkin pies she had made.

She shyly invited me inside her home and when I stepped into the entry, I could see pies and baked goods sitting on the wood burning stove. The pies were near perfect and the smell told me that they were as amazing in taste as they were to look at.

I just happened to have some of my homemade pumpkin butter in the car and offered her a jar and the recipe. She was a wonderful baker and had rows of jars with apple butter, harvest beets, pickled eggs and jellies but she had never tried pumpkin butter. I explained that pumpkin butter is prepared exactly like apple butter and is very similar. Both the flavor and texture is slightly different.

The next time I pass through their community, I will have to ask if she tried my pumpkin butter recipe. I can just see the family sitting down at the oak plank table spreading fresh pumpkin butter over thick slabs of homemade bread. It is so much fun to share recipes and it lets us laugh and enjoy each others company like few other things in life.

Pumpkin Butter

1 medium sugar pumpkin
1/2 cup of apple cider
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pierce pumpkin deeply with a knife to allow steam to escape. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 7 minutes per pound or until soft and flesh is tender. Remove pumpkin puree from the seeds and peel. Place pumpkin puree and remaining ingredients in a 2-quart microwave-safe container. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until thick, stirring several times to check the consistency. Serve immediately with bread or as a topping for ice cream , or allow to cool and store two weeks in the refrigerator or up to a year in the freezer.

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