Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Year in the Making, Day 87

Today, Pumpkin Butter

This is a touchy subject for home canning, especially for me with my food safety background. To safely can food, it has to be heated all the way to the core and then chilled expediently to prevent growth of harmful microorganisms. Pumpkin and other squashes are extremely dense, so I took the traditional recipe, but cooked it for longer, bringing it up to as full of a boil as something this viscous can get, filling the jars while it was still bubbling on the pan, then boiling them in a hot water bath for 45 minutes.

The ingredients:

3 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin purée
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice

For recipes that have fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin filling, they say to combine the fresh pumpkin with brown sugar, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl and let the mix stand at room temperature 8 to 10 hours. That's a recipe for disaster in my book. The danger zone for the growth of microorganisms is 40-140F. I mixed the ingredients and let them sit in the fridge overnight.

So this evening, I pureed the mixture in my food processor, then cooked the puree in my stainless steel saucepan with a 1/2 cup reserved liquid left over from cooking the sugar pumpkins yesterday, and simmered on low heat, stirring often, for about 60 minutes. I boiled the canning jars while it was cooking, and ladeled the mixture into the jars directly after removing them from the water bath, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Capped them, placed the jars back in the canning pot and, as I mentioned earlier, let them boil for 45 minutes.

Pumpkin Butter

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