I was up early this morning, checking on the progress of the pumpkin butter. Since I wanted the steam to be able to escape from the crock pot so it could reduce, I had positioned toothpicks under either side of the lid to keep it from sealing. This morning, the whole house smelled heavenly- that warm, spicy smell. Mmmmmm..... The pumpkin butter had cooked down nicely and was thick and brown.
Thick, dark, sweet, spicy and oh, so tasty!
So, I got to work. Being a little paranoid (maybe that's an understatement) about food safety with my canned goods and remembering the government warnings about canning pumpkin butter, I decided to hedge my bets a little. Part of the problem is that pumpkin is a low acid food and there is no way of knowing if there is enough sugar added to deter the growth of bacteria. But, one of the last times J16 and I visited the Amish bulk food store at Stringtown, we picked up some dehydrated lemon juice (1 tsp to half cup of water) so I added some of that (about 4.5 tsp) to the mix to increase the acidity. It also gave it another flavor dimension. Oh, and last night before I went to bed, I stirred in about 2 tsp of vanilla. Yeah, I know- I can't follow a recipe, LOL!!
I heated my water, washed my jars and got canning.
Half an inch of headspace.
I also used a wooden chopstick to make sure I didn't have any air bubbles. I processed it in my water bath canner for 20 minutes. When looking, I saw variations from 10 minutes to 40. But 20 seemed to be a common number.
The finished product.
I got 4 pints and 7 half pints (for gifting). But best of all, K10 woke up while I was finishing up. He asked what I was cooking so I gave him a fingerful from the little that was left in the crockpot. The look on his face was all the payment I need for the work. His eyes got big and he had this big smile on his face as he said "Oh, that's GOOD". Success!
Toast, a little cream cheese and some pumpkin butter.
The cook's other reward...