Now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are behind us, the pumpkins have to leave the front porch. We always buy a few pumpkins every year for decoration and usually one to carve. These pumpkins are the ones you’ll see at Walmart and Aldi’s around here for $3 – $3.96 each. You’d pay about $17 each for these guys at the pick your own farms around here, which is why Walmart and Aldi’s get my pumpkin business.
Normally, the old pumpkins get tossed in my garden to compost and the seeds regrow into pumpkin plants the following summer. And then the bugs eat my pumpkin’s vines. This year, I wanted to try something new to try to get my money’s worth out of these pumpkins. It took hours and hours, but I made 12 cups of pumpkin puree and 8 jars/containers worth of pumpkin butter.
Making pumpkin puree (or butter) really isn’t difficult, just time consuming. You should definitely give it a try instead of tossing your old pumpkins! Canned pumpkin at the store is pretty pricey, so this is quite the savings.
- I started with 3 large carving pumpkins. For best results, you’ll want to use a pie/sugar pumpkin, which are smaller and sweeter, but they are also much more expensive. My goal was to use up the pumpkins we already had, so I used the carving pumpkins. The taste isn’t quite the same, but it’s not bad.
- I rinsed each pumpkin off with water and then chopped them up into large chunks. Make sure you scrape out all the gunk and seeds. You can save the seeds for your garden or toast them later.
- Place your pumpkin chunks (skin and all) on a greased baking sheet. Skin side up. I could get 2 pans in my oven at a time. I think I ended up baking 7 pans worth of pumpkin.
- Bake each pan for about an hour on 375 degrees. You want the pumpkin meat to be soft enough to be scoopable with a spoon.
- Let cool so you don’t burn yourself
- Scoop out the pumpkin meat and sit it aside. The meat should easily separate from the skin. Compost the skins.
- Dump the puree right into your crockpot
- Add sugar (I had about 14 cups of puree, and added 6-7 cups of sugar). Many recipes that I saw called for a 1:1 ratio of pumpkin- sugar, but I wasn’t doing that!
- Add spices to your liking: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ground Cloves, and Cumin
- Cook on low overnight with the lid propped open! You need the steam to be able to escape so that the butter can reduce down. I prop my lid with wooden spoons.
- In the morning, give it a stir and put it on high to finish it up. Add more sugar or spices if you want. There’s no strict recipe, just keep adding until you get the taste you want.
- The butter should be thick and dark.
- When you’re ready, turn the crockpot off and fill your jars or containers with the butter. You CAN NOT can pumpkin butter as it is too dense and not acidic. Your butter can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks or frozen. It is not shelf stable.
So there you go! It’s really not hard work to make your own puree and butter. Give it a try before you throw away your pumpkins next time! And let me know if you have questions!