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Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Flavors: Pumpkin Butter and Cranberry Chutney


My entire house has been so fragrant (in a good way) ever since I made these canned goods on Friday. If you have a house full of fragrant (not in a good way) family, you can appreciate the goodness of this.

Pumpkin butter and cranberry chutney are my two favorite condiments in the fall, or anytime the weather is chilly. Pumpkin butter beats apple butter hands down, in my opinion. The flavors are much more complex and I can tell myself it’s a vegetable. Although my kindergartener told me yesterday that pumpkins are fruit. I’m not even going to Google that…I’d rather believe it’s a vegetable. We eat pumpkin butter on all your usual bread products, and I like to give it as a gift with a beer bread mix. The cranberry chutney goes well on a turkey or ham sandwich, or it’s great over cream cheese served with crackers.

By the way, the chutney is upside-down in the photo because that’s how my mom taught me to can. I don’t know why…I think it’s because it helps the vacuum to develop. Or maybe not. In any event, that’s how we do it. Upside down until they’re cool, flip them over, and if the button on top isn’t vacuum sealed, then it’s not really safe to store at room temp. You can then 1) keep it in the refrigerator and use it up quickly or 2) recan it using canning techniques. I always just eat it on everything I can think of if it doesnt' seal. These all sealed, though; it's not that hard. Heat is the key...everything needs to be piping hot...chutney or butter or whatever, jars, and lids.

Here are the recipes…the process isn’t really intimidating, just takes a little while. These taste so much better (and less expensive) than store-bought, though, it’s worth the time and effort!

Pumpkin Butter

This is, I believe, the only actual recipe I make in the microwave. I kind of hate using the microwave…I don’t even use it for reheating stuff or making hot water, if I can help it. I think food doesn’t heat evenly or stay hot as long. It’s just my opinion, though.

15 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tbsp pectin (that’s not quite 1 package of Sure-Jell)
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 cups sugar

In a 2-quart microwaveable bowl, stir together pumpkin, pectin, and spice. Heat in microwave for about 5 or 6 minutes, until very hot. Stir it after 3 minutes.


When it’s really hot, add sugar and heat it 5-8 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes, until it’s come to a rolling boil. Microwave for 1 minute at a rolling boil.


Spoon it into your hot jars and seal it. Makes 3 halfpint jars.

I usually make 2 recipes of this, without washing the bowl between. It doesn't double well, so don't try that unless you want to use a powerwasher on the inside of your microwave.

Cranberry Chutney

The biggest time consumer here is dicing all the ingredients very finely. I supposed you could use a food processor, but I like perfect little cubes in my chutney. OK, they’re not that perfect, but it gives me a chance to practice my knife skills.


1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 pear, peeled, cored, and diced
6 cups fresh cranberries (or frozen will work, too)


Using a low-sided, large saucepan, stir together all ingredients except cranberries. I’ve actually thrown the cranberries in, too, at this point and it turns out fine. It’s a little brighter if you wait until the end, though.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the apples are tender.


Add the cranberries and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the berries start to pop. Remove from heat.

Spoon into hot jars and seal.

Ta-da! You’ve made some amazing gifts to have on hand, or a tasty addition to enliven your family’s toast or sandwiches. One of our favorite breakfasts is a sandwich made with scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon crumbles added and pumpkin butter spread on both pieces of toasted bread. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Ovey, I needed a little "normal" today and you certainly filled the bill. Loved your commentary on the microwave. I thought I was the only one who could easily do without! And you and my Mr. Wonderful could be clones when it comes to a perfect dice!

    Anyway, loved the recipes and the chuckles you gave me along the way. Thanks, M. You're the best.


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