Pumpkin Butter

#VeganMoFo18 Day 30 – Pumpkin Butter

It’s the final day of September and thus, the final day of Vegan Month of Food 2018. At the beginning, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough things to blog about for every day of the month, but turns out I had plenty, and even more on my list for future posts! It’s been a lot of work, but also a joy! I’ve really enjoyed the feedback from everyone and hope you get a chance to try some of the things out.

Being that we’re headed into October, the month of jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin spice lattes, it seems appropriate to write about Pumpkin Butter! Pumpkin butter is sweet, spicy, thick, and satisfyingwe love it! The grandkids really love to put it on pancakes (and so do we, I freely admit!).

Unlike apple butter, pumpkin butter cannot be water bath or pressure canned. Pumpkin butter, and even mashed or pureed pumpkin, is just too dense and you cannot guarantee that heat from the canning process will penetrate all the way into the contents in the middle of the jar. Therefore, you have to refrigerate or freeze your jars of pumpkin butter. Cubed pumpkin and other winter squash can be pressure canned, however, and you can learn more from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

I use the Spice Pumpkin Butter recipe from the Ball® Fresh Preserving recipe database. There are lots of other recipes out there for making pumpkin butter, including a bunch that use a crock pot, which would probably cut down on the splatter when making it!
While you can use canned pumpkin, I prefer to use pureed roasted squash. We grow a lot of different winter squashes in our garden, and then roast and freeze the pump every year. My favorite is the kabocha and kuri squashes, which are meaty, sweet, and dense. To roast the squash, cut the squash in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and put cut-side down on a baking sheet covered with a silicone baking sheet, parchment paper, or foil. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and then bake until soft, about 45 minutes. Make sure you use a baking sheet with a lip, as the squash will release some liquid while it’s baking. Let it cool on the sheet and then scoop all the cooked out of the shell. You can use the pulp right away or put into containers and freeze.

Kuri Squash

To make pumpkin butter, puree the cooked pulp in a food processor and then combine in a large saucepot with apple cider, maple syrup, brown sugar (or granulated sugar with a bit of molasses), lemon juice, seeds scraped from a vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and cloves. If you are using canned pumpkin, you don’t need to process in a food processor, it’s ready to go. Bring this to a boil and stir it frequently because it will stick and burn. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a splatter guard because it will throw up big splatters of boiling hot squash which will burn and mess up your whole kitchen! Simmer this for 20-30 minutes until it is thick and mounds on a spoon (see making apple butter). Spoon the hot pumpkin butter into hot jars with 1/2-inch headspace. Let them cool before refrigerating or freezing. They freeze up to a year.

Splatter Guard

I hope VeganMoFo18 was as fun for you as it was for me! It was great to put a zero waste spin perspective on whole food, planted-based vegan cooking. If you are just considering or starting your zero waste journey, don’t be discouraged or overwhelmed. Moving toward zero waste is a gradual transition, you’re not going to get there overnight. The things we have done, and are still doing, have occurred slowly, a step at a time. Trying new things, like making pumpkin butter, something that doesn’t even require hot water or pressure canning, is a fun way to start!


There are some great resources available for home canning. Internet resources are fantastic as they are generally most up to date. There are some standby books, but remember to get new ones every few years to be current with updated guidelines.

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