Happy National Pumpkin Day! To celebrate, my family canned a small batch of pumpkin butter. Very small batch. 12 half-pint jars, to be precise. This was our first canning experience and it was a huge success. I’m happy to report every jar sealed successfully and not a single one exploded. We filled those jars using just one pumpkin and had plenty leftover for ourselves.
Our pumpkin butter journey began when Spence and I decided to look up what to do with our pumpkin guts after carving jack-o’-lanterns together many moons ago when we were still dating. Carving jack-o’-lanterns is an autumn date night must, even nearly a decade later as husband and wife. But don’t let that amazing pumpkin go to waste. You’ll be amazed by how much food a single pumpkin provides!
This year, we are using the seeds to make pumpkin brittle but in the past, we have simply roasted them in an assortment of seasonings. Personally, I enjoy spicy Cajun-inspired blends with my pumpkin seeds. You could also dry the seeds out on a paper towel for about a week and keep them in a dry, cold location to plant them next year. Last spring, we planted some ourselves and while the vines quickly took over our backyard, the only baby pumpkin that popped withered from the vine when it was small. Such a bummer but I’d definitely like to try again.
With our nearly 9-month-old daughter Asena eating mush food and working restlessly to cut her teeth (I see a white spot today from a single one on her bottom jaw poking through), we’ll be dedicating the guts and skin from another pumpkin to puree. It’s also wonderful for dogs’ digestion. Mix it as it is into their food or bake it into treats. Pumpkin is so magical in that it can aid both constipation and diarrhea in our canine companions.
With the guts, skin and seeds put to use, you’ll be feeling pretty good about utilizing the whole pumpkin for sustenance. But not so fast! What about the stem? It never crossed my mind until this fall that pumpkin stems can be dried and used for crafts. If you make fabric or velvet pumpkins, an authentic pumpkin stem will make it that more magical – and you can probably score a bunch from friends and family with no desire to keep it. Do your best to remove all the pumpkin flesh from the stem when you remove the stem from the pumpkin. Once they are completely dried, you can smooth them by sanding them which will also get rid of any excess pumpkin flesh you may have missed.
What You Need To Can Pumpkin Butter
• Water Bath Canner with rack
• Jar Lifter
• Wide-Mouth Mason Jars with Lids & Bands
• Canning Funnel (any funnel should work)
• Bubble Freer/Headspace Tool (a spatula will work)
• Label Stickers (optional)
DIY Water Bath Canning
1. Washing jars in hot, soapy water and dry. Inspect and remove any with damage or imperfections.
2. Fill the water bath canner halfway and heat to 180º.
3. Place jars on rack and submerge in water bath canner.
4. Prepare pumpkin butter. You can follow our simple Pearson Pumpkin Butter recipe here.
5. Remove jars from water bath canner using jar lifter.
6. Use funnel to fill one jar until it is about 0.5″ headspace.
7. Use headspace tool to remove bubbles. We used a spatula.
8. Center a lid on the jar.
9. Twist band on until it is fingertip-tight.
10. Use jar lifter to place jar in canner.
11. Repeat steps 6 through 10 until all your pumpkin butter is jarred or canner is full.
12. Make sure water is 1″ to 2″ above each jar.
13. Place lid on water bath canner and bring water to rolling boil.
14. Leave jars in boiling water bath canner for 30 minutes.
15. After you turn off the heat, remove lid and let jars stay in the water bath canner for 5 minutes so they can adjust to outside temperature.
16. Use jar lifters to remove each jar and place on a towel.
17. Inspect lids 24 hours later to see if they sealed properly.
18. Design and place your label.
19. Store up to a year in the freezer. Once opened, keep in fridge.
It’s as simple as that! Pumpkin butter makes a great gift and goes great with toast, pastries and maybe even as a glaze for a rack of ribs. We’ll let you know when we try that ourselves.
What foods have you canned before? If you follow our canning DIY, let us know how your pumpkin butter turns out in the comments below and if you go the extra mile to create a logo, we’d love to see it. Happy canning!