Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Great Pumpkin

I couldn't let October slide by without a single post. Especially, since there is a recipe I want to share with you. I've been a bit reflective in this Autumn, and a bit sad, as the November sadness has set in, and I can no longer hide from it. I'm trying hard, I am, yet the cells in my body have held a memory that I cannot run from, so I let myself break apart. It is the only thing I know how to do. It's amazing, the human body, how it can remember pain, persevere, weaken, surrender, and adapt, all at the same time. The wounds I carry were never physical, unless you count what it did to the inside. The wounds inside can be far more gruesome, and for those of you that have lost a child, you know that we are patched together inside, in a very awful, fragile way.

These foggy days are just that, foggy almost to the point of day after day blending into one another, without a distinction. I can totally relate. One thing is for certain: it is Fall outside. The trees are so lovely right now against the low riding grey, and you can watch the season change, right before your eyes. My little one and I stare in silence at the big maple let go of it's leaves as we wait for the bus in the morning. We watch the low clouds roll through in ghostly waves, pulling those orange leaves down, our big puffs of breath, mimicking the fog. It is quiet. Peaceful. Beautiful.

One thing I love about fall, even though it is a painful time of year, is pumpkins. Pumpkins make me very happy. I love, love, love them.

Someone once asked me why I like pumpkins so much. I couldn't find an answer, except, that " I like everything about them. I just like to look at them, I suppose".  She nodded, and said she understood liking something just because it makes you happy, but you don't exactly know why. Doesn't need a reason.

Pumpkins are not only good for my soul, but they are also food for my soul. No surprise, I like to eat them, too. And so, if you do too, here is a weekend project for you. Make some yummy Pumpkin Butter. Please feed your soul, too. Especially, if it is hungry for pumpkin.

So, the great thing about this recipe, is that it only dirties one pot. I like that in a recipe, easy peasy clean up. The bad thing, if you can call it bad, is having to man the stove for a bit.  And for my gf friends, I think this might be gluten free? Please correct me if I am wrong! I don't want to make anyone sick, but the ingredients seem pretty gf friendly, yes?

                                                       Pumpkin Butter

One 28 oz. can of pumpkin puree ( I used Libby's)

1 Cup of apple cider

1 Cup of packed brown sugar

2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

couple pinches of allspice

couple pinches of cloves

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (optional)

Okay, now that you have gathered all of the ingredients, measure them out, and put them all into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Make absolutely, positively sure, that you use a pan that has a tight fitting lid. You can add, or not add the maple syrup. It does add a little maple-y back flavor, but if you don't have it, you can omit it and still have a great pumpkin butter. Do not substitute the maple syrup with pancake syrup though, it will make it too sticky sweet.

So, whisk up those ingredients, and slowly bring it to a boil over medium heat. ***Warning!!*** When that sucker starts to boil, trouble will follow! That pumpkin when it boils, becomes a big, hot, gloppy mess!


Here is where that handy dandy lid comes into play. Immediately cover that sucker with a lid, and lower the heat to a simmer, somewhere between low to medium-low where it will sit and thicken, and soon turn into golden spreadable goodness.

I simmered my butter for about thirty minutes or so, stirring it every four or five minutes, making sure that it was simmering, and not burning. Watch carefully, you don't want to burn the butter! When I stirred it each time, I took it off the heat, because I didn't want the big, hot, bubbly, glops to burn me. You should do this, too.

The color gets a little darker, and the consistency a little thicker, when your butter is done. Once it is done, ladle the hot, delicious mess into sterilized jars, or tupperware containers. Pumpkin butter is not for use using the hot process method, so keep the jars in the fridge, or freeze the rest to eat throughout the season.


The pumpkin butter tastes the best when it is cold. It tastes like cold, spreadable, pumpkin pie. My daughter and I can polish off a whole jar of it smeared onto graham crackers in one sitting.  It is good on pancakes, too.

So, that is your assignment for this pre-Halloween weekend. Pumpkin butter. Make it. Eat it. Love it.