Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pumpkin Butter

Our house smells heavenly. Right now, as I type, our first-ever batch of pumpkin butter is on its ninth or so hour of simmering in the crock pot.

The prospect of eating it is making us all rather giddy -- the kids have been watching it cook all day, and Lucy in fact thanked, in her prayer over dinner, that the Lord 'gave' me the idea to make it.

It's been an epic pumpkin journey to get to this butter, though. First, I planted some 'sugar' pie pumpkins, which barely sprouted before they died of all kinds of bugs and disease. I planted them again, and though the vines grew quickly this time, the same withering diseases struck almost immediately.

Somehow, though, there were a few pumpkins that were large enough to be worth picking when harvest ended. I left them as long as I could out there on the dead vines hoping they might ripen, but 4 of the 5 were almost fully green. So, I patiently put them inside a bright sunny window for a few weeks, and they've gradually oranged up.

But all this was before the even more time-consuming job of getting the seeds and pulp out, baking, skinning, and pureeing them, which is what I spent a lot of time doing this week. Just as I was loading the puree into containers to use in future pies and such, it occurred to me to wonder if there wasn't something better to do with it, since it wasn't quite as thick and orange as canned and hence would take longer to finish cooking as a pie.

I don't know where the idea of pumpkin butter popped into my head from (I've never made any kind of fruit butter), but I'm glad it did. I think we're going to enjoy this more than a pie. A couple quarts or more of pumpkin butter steaming its spicy goodness into our air is very rewarding on this frosty night, and the little bit we snitched to try on our pancakes tonight boded very well for our future delight...

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