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Archive for the ‘October Challenge’ Category

The pumpkin butter I made this week turned out pretty well, but the pear butter? It was amazing! Pears are at the top of my favorite fruits list, so learning how to make this, the queen of all toast toppings, was really a necessity. 😉 I found this recipe at recipe4living.com, and began with Bosc Pears which I got for free. Bosc is great for cooking and baking. The flesh is firmer than most varieties and has a sweet-spiced flavor.Yum!

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but  did reduce the sugar because pears are so sweet already. I canned them, which I’ve never done before, so yeah for me acquiring a new skill! Of course, I’ll be popping a jar open for breakfast tomorrow.


What is YOUR favorite Jam, Jelly, or Fruit Butter?

 

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Cinderella traveled to the ball in a pumpkin stagecoach, and Peter Peter (pumpkin eater) kept his wife in a pumpkin shell. There are other pumpkins in literature, but until we visited College Hill Library yesterday, I had never seen literature in a pumpkin. Click on the images to enlarge them.

 

 

Impressive, huh?  Max argued that it isn’t really a carving as much as a diorama. Whatever. I thought it was cool.

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My friend Rae gave me 6 pie pumpkins a few weeks ago and they’ve been judging me from the kitchen counter ever since. 😉

We are a pumpkin loving household, but I confess I haven’t used fresh pumpkin for anything in years. The canned is so easy to grab and bake with, and I hate the icky factor of cleaning out pumpkin goop. Then Rae told me she bakes the pumpkins whole. Seriously? You can do that? Cool! So I searched the web and found several recipes for Pumpkin Butter and decided to experiment. I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures of this process. I’d fail as a photo blogger. The photos used are from people who thought ahead. Here are pics of pumpkins before and after baking:

         

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry 6 pie pumpkins and place them directly on the baking rack in the center of the oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes. When it buzzes, start checking for doneness by sticking a fork in about an inch from the stem. If it goes in easily, the pumpkin is done. I baked mine for an hour. 6 pumpkins produced 12 cups of puree.
  3. Wearing oven mitts, pull them out to cool on the counter for a bit. Pull the stems off and use the fork to split the skin away from the flesh. The skin peels off easily. Cut in half and lay open to cool faster. When it’s cool enough to touch, scoop out the goop into a bowl so you can roast the seeds later on.
  4. Puree the soft pumpkin chunks in a food processor and let it drain for an hour in cheese cloth or a paper towel lined in the bottom of a colander to get the excess liquid off.
  5. Transfer the pumpkin puree to a 6 quart crock pot, and follow the recipe below, tweaking it until it tastes like you want it to taste. Some people like it really sweet, some like it a little spicier. Do what works for you and your family. This recipe is for a small batch, but I used my multiplication skills and used all 12 cups for the pumpkin butter.

Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter

2 cups of cooked, pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin)
1 cup honey (or sugar)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in crock-pot and stir to mix well. Cook on High for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. It will thicken as it cooks. Do not let it burn or stick. After it is done, fill pint jars and seal. The USDA does not recommend canning pumpkin butter due to differing pH levels among home recipes, but there are many people who do it anyway without incident. I chose to refrigerate and freeze mine in Ball freezer jars (shown) once the butter was completely cooled. This recipe easily doubles, triples, etc. Remember I started with 12 cups of pumpkin.

My family loved it. Not bad for my first try. What new things are you trying?

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