The canned “pumpkin” you find in the grocery store is actually made from butternut squash. Homemade pumpkin puree is sweeter, has less moisture, and tastes both different and better, so works better in this Spiced Pumpkin Butter recipe. Bonus: You can also use this butter as the basis for a pumpkin pie. Simply mix 2 cups of it in a large bowl with 2 eggs, 1 yolk from a third egg, 1½ cups heavy cream, and ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Place the mixture into an unbaked pie shell, then back at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4½ pounds (about 7 cups) pumpkin puree (preferably from small- to medium-sized sugar pumpkins)
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
  • ½ whole nutmeg
  • 6 cloves allspice
  • ¾ cup apple cider

Instructions

  • Cut each pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds (save and toast them for a treat), then discard any stringy parts. Place pumpkins flesh-side down on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or foil. Bake pumpkins at 350 degrees for about an hour or until fork-tender.
  • Remove pumpkins from the oven, let them cool, then scoop out the pulp and place it into a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Using a mortar and pestle or a clean coffee mill, grind the spices to a fine powder. Stir sugar, spices, and apple cider into the saucepan with the pumpkin.
  • Simmer the butter over low heat for 1 to 1½ hours. The mixture will thicken as you continue to cook, eventually reaching the consistency of butter. While thickening, it may stick to the bottom of the pan. No worries! You will know the pumpkin butter is ready when a wooden spoon leaves a clear path across the bottom of the pan.
  • Ladle into jars, seal, and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Or, let the butter cool, then ladle into freezer bags or freezer-safe mason jars (leave plenty of head space!) and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families. For more recipes like this, check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.

Stacy Harris at home