15 September 2010

Harvest Pumpkin Butter Grown Close to Home

As we speak I am attending the Food and Wine Writers Workshop south of here. Modern technology allows me to be in 2 places at once and tell you about what I was up to last Sunday and inform you about my latest foray into canning as well as have wine tastings, market tours and gourmet dinners all at the same time. I will tell you all about the workshop when I get back.  

In the meantime a few weeks ago I received an e-mail from the Loblaw's Corporation to participate in their Grown Close to Home campaign. They asked me if I would like to receive a Bernardin Canning kit to highlight our local Canadian produce. Let me think about that for a nano-second. YES was my unequivocal reply!!!!What arrived was a rather large package with President's Choice measuring cups, organic sugar, white vinegar, a Bernadin Home Canning Kit featuring a 21-quart canner, an instructional DVD and a gift card to purchase local produce. I hesitate to tell you how many years it has been since I canned from my own home grown produce but I was more than ready to get started again. Thanks Loblaws and Bernadin!!

From British Columbia's plump and juicy raspberries, to the firm, sweet cantaloupes of Ontario and Quebec's succulent berries - fruits and vegetables from across Canada are arriving in Loblaw store produce sections all over the country.  Loblaw has emerged with the most ambitious local food campaign, which it calls “Grown Close to Home.” Launched for the third consecutive year, it showcases items from growers in “your part of the country” and puts a “spotlight on local fresh produce during harvest season. Loblaw's Grown Close to Home(TM) program offers Canadians up to 40 per cent of produce from all across Canada found in Loblaw stores sourced from Canadian growers during the peak season. The actual local season starts in May with asparagus and ends in October with apples.

The 100-Mile Diet, originally a book about the challenges of living on food grown within 100 miles of home, is now shorthand for a movement that advocates environmentally responsible food consumption. The country’s biggest food retailers – with Loblaw Co. Ltd. leading the charge – have taken notice.

"How come my local grower can't sell their produce in my local store?'"At this time of year, local produce is in the spotlight as the harvest season enters its peak period and consumers complain that too little local produce seems to make its way into large supermarkets such as Loblaw.  The "goal," Loblaw says, is to be "100 per cent local in season," but Loblaw can't always meet that target. It's partly a problem of supply. Even a stellar strawberry season wouldn't fill all of Loblaw's 1,000 stores across the country and the past two summers have been cool and wet. As well, the supermarket chain sets certain standards for safety reasons not all farmers can meet. For example, fruit must be "pre-cooled" as soon as it's picked to prolong its shelf life. Not all farmers can afford the refrigeration facilities. The bottom line is that Loblaw's is working on a solution which is certainly commendable. Last year it achieved a record breaking goal during the key harvest season by raising awareness with its "Grown Close to Home" program.

I had my heart set on making pumpkin butter as my first seasonal canning project. Thanks to Loblaw's and Bernadin I was able to achieve excellent results. Pumpkin butter has been called pumpkin pie in a jar, and though it can’t technically be called fruit butter because pumpkin is a winter squash, it falls into this class of preserved spreads. It is essentially cooked pumpkin that is pureed and combined with sugar and spices common in pumpkin pie, like warm cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. It has a very thick texture which is similar to butter.  Many people find it truly delicious and so different from the numerous fruit spreads they might ordinarily use. It is excellent on a variety of toasts or breads, and some people enjoy it on granola or as a topping to yogurt. Fans of pumpkin ice cream may revel in topping vanilla ice cream with a dollop of pumpkin butter. I like to mix it with some creamed cheese and slather it on warm toast for a delicious snack.You can probably find many recipes that call for pumpkin butter as well such as a pumpkin cheesecake, layer cakes, muffins, waffles and perhaps even thumbprint cookies can be made that have their centers filled with this spicy spread.

A word of warning the cooking process of pumpkin butter changes the colour to a deep, dark, rich hue of  orange or brown. There are some uncooked recipes of pumpkin butter that retain their brilliant orange colour but these cannot be canned and need to be kept in the refrigerator and used as quickly as possible. When planning to can pumpkin butter look specifically for those recipes with canning instructions. Some recipes are very low acid and won’t work well if cans are to be kept outside of the fridge.  There is apparently much debate over the safety of canning pumpkin butter in a hot water bath. I'm of the opinion that it is fine and has been done for centuries, but for extra safety, even after using tons of sugar, I made a little room in my refrigerator.

Pumpkin choice is another essential factor in making pumpkin butter. You should select pie pumpkins, with sugar pie pumpkins being one of the best choices. These are smaller and weigh about three to five pounds (1.36-2.27 kg). Though some people use larger jack o’lantern style pumpkins, they are not as sweet or flavourful and texture can be a problem. For large recipes though, it can take several sugar pie pumpkins to get enough cooked pumpkin, so you can turn to canned pumpkin instead, which is fine.

This recipe makes a perfect holiday gift. The traditional spicing and hint of maple sweetness will enhance old-fashioned holiday meals. For food safety reasons as mentioned, do NOT reduce the amount of sugar or syrup unless you plan to store the results in the refrigerator. For complete canning instructions and tips visit the Bernadin web site and preserve the summer season in jars.

**Harvest Pumpkin Butter**

6 cups cooked sugar pumpkin puree (see instructions below; or two 29-ounce cans pumpkin
2 cups pure maple syrup (see note)
2 cups light corn syrup (see note)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (see note)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Put the pumpkin puree in a large, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot; stir in the maple syrup and corn syrup. When these are thoroughly combined, add the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, mace and vanilla. Set the pot over medium-high heat. When it begins to boil, partially cover it; the mixture will spatter profusely. (Highly recommended!!!) Cook at a slow boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until it thickens and turns a darker colour, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash 5 pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs. Ladle the hot butter into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes (20 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet).

NOTE: To make pumpkin puree: Either bake or broil the fruit. Bake whole pumpkins on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven until softened and collapsed. (Be sure to poke holes in them first, or they will explode in the oven.) Scoop the pulp away from the peel. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor. Or, boil peeled chunks of fresh pumpkin until softened, then puree the cooked pulp.

Males 5 pints

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I was just reading about the 100 mile diet last night. I used to work for a local grocer that bought local organic produce as much a possible. Thanks for all of the wonderful pumpkin canning information. Your recipe looks delicious!

  2. Your pumpkin butter looks wonderful- i love it with graham crackers. I'll try your recipe when I get some pumpkin!

  3. That is a beautiful pumpkin butter! The pumpkin season has started, yay!



  4. Pumpkin butter!!!!!!..omg! I'm totally in love with this! And those spices are right up my alley!

  5. This sounds excellent. I make pumpkin jam, but I like the idea of a creamy apple butter consistency. Will have to try it w/out corn syrup as it doesn't exist here. BTW, I dot think I have mentioned how lovely your blog is looking. Nice update.

  6. Now I'm loving the sound of this pumpkin butter! A great job you did there and I love step by step pics.

  7. Oh my gosh, Val, how amazing!! And I LOOOVE pumpkin butter, thanks for the recipe, I need to make some soon =)

  8. How much fun this sounds...the event...the great gifts...and the fabulous company, I'm sure ;)

    This recipe sounds incredibly interesting and will bookmark it for sometime in the future when I find myself with a little more time ;O)

    Continue having a fantastic time ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  9. Wow, what a beautiful gift. You've got your work cut out for you now, Val. I love all those wonderful spices you've used in your pumpkin butter.

  10. Val! Lucky you!! Pumpkin butter- what can I say? I've been making it for years as it's a hometown favorite in the Hudson Valley where we lived. Your recipe looks wonderful and doesn't the kitchen smell fabulous as it's cooking?
    xoxo Pattie

  11. You are a busy lady!
    Just beautuful! I remember watching that show on TV; it was so interesting to see how some really managed to stick to the plan. Pumpkin butter is new to me, but sounds so good.

  12. You are such a globetrotter these days!

    Pumpkin butter is one of those things that I just can't get enough of. I really need to invest in a canning kit so I can make this! It sounds like a dream!

  13. How wonderful that you would receive a chance to gain all of the canning supplies. Your recipe looks divine! I love apple butter and pumpkin butter must be equally delicious!
    Hugs, Cindy S

  14. I've never had pumpkin butter but it looks sensational. I'm definitely going to try this. Yum!

  15. Gosh I wish I could have smelled this cooking! I bet it was divine! What a super job you did, Val. It really looks delicious. You are so ambitious!
    I loved reading about the 100 mile diet too.

  16. I remember finding sugar pumpkin at last year's market - so now will be looking intently again. I MUST make this. What a thoughtful, timely, and yummy choice for this post. YUM.
    And, you are with Liane Faulder - a foodie friend from Edmonton, and a couple of other Edmonton Foodie Bloggers. So wish I was there with you. NExt year I will be there as I am retiring at the end of this year. What to do it again? I would love to meet you in the flesh! Can't wait to hear all about it.

  17. i've both given and received pumpkin butter as a gift...i prefer to receive. :)

  18. I guess there's a whiff of Autumn in the air that you're thinking of pumpkin. Lucky you to receive that canning kit. I'm sure you'll make good use of it. Look forward to reading about the workshop you attended.

  19. Gosh, Val this sounds so good! I've only had apple butter, but with fall arriving soon, I think that this would be so yummy spread on a hefty piece of bread right now! Also, I enjoyed reading about all of the events and the canning process. I'm always learning something new! Can you post this on my Fresh blog hop going on now? It's perfect for this time of year! Have a great weekend!

  20. What a wonderful looking pumpkin butter!! Looks truly appetizing!


  21. Hi. I just stumbled across your blog in search of pumpkin butter recipes. This is definitely on the list. I had a bumper crop of galeus d'eysines pumpkins/squash and have one in the oven right now.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  22. I have never made pumpkin butter. I bet it would be great rolled in a crepe and served with maple sweetened whipped cream. I will have to watch and see if local pumpkins are a big thing in my new home town.

  23. Pumpkin butter sounds amazing! I've never done my own canning before...to be honest it's always seemed so overwhelming! Your post really breaks it down :) Thanks!

  24. Great post. I've never tried pumpkin butter - sounds good.

    I love my new canning equipment.

    Hope you enjoyed your workshop.

  25. Wow Val! You are super talented. That pumpkin butter sounds amazing. I love anything pumpkin. Great job with the canning process.

  26. I'll trade you peach butter for pumpkin butter :). The markets are filling up with pie pumpkins and I'm going to make some in about a week. It does sound wonderful.
    Great job on the review Val.

  27. Wonderful pumpkin butter...and great post, just look at that basket of treasures :)

  28. pumpkin butter - what a clever idea, i love the sound of it

    preserving is very important in the greek summer, at least for me: if i'm not word processing, i'm food processing!

  29. So even if you purchased the pumpkin puree from the store - you cannot use that to make your butter - then can it - and not have to keep it refrigerated ? I just don't have the space - not sure how to use it in a gift basket if it has to be refrigerated too ??
    I so love pumpkin butter :-)

  30. Val - I was just finishing up the roasting of my sugar pumpkin. I am going to make ice cream (I know - now? - yes) and have not forgotten your butter. How did you use it? what is the consistency? Would it be good in tart shells like a lemon butter is?

  31. If I don't want to use corn syrup, how much maple syrup or sugar can I swap it out for? Thanks! I have my pumpkin puree in my slow cooker right now... can't wait for this evening!


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