What Is Pumpkin Butter?

Listen up, fellow spooky freaks! It’s almost Halloween season. If those Christmas losers can start celebrating in November, we can take over September. And that takeover begins NOW with a rundown of the delicious, wonderfully spooky, pumpkin butter. And if you’re one of those people who says, “ugh, pumpkin-flavored food, how basic,” GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE THIS IS NOT A SAFE SPACE FOR YOU!

What is pumpkin butter?

Pumpkin butter lives in the same realm as apple butter and other fruit butters, towing the line between a jam and a butter spread. The tradition of fruit butters arose in German, Belgian, and Dutch monasteries of the Middle Ages. Monks developed the butter from fruits that grew in their large orchards as a way to preserve the crop and to avoid waste. The preserved fruit butters traveled the Atlantic during the Age of Colonization and spread around the globe.

The “butter” part of pumpkin butter and its kin can be misleading. There is no milk product in fruit butters. Instead, the “butter” refers to the concoction’s spreadability; similar to milk butter, it is often used as a bread topping. In actuality, fruit butter falls more in the jam and jelly category. However, fruit butter is more like a puree than a jiggly jelly or jam. It is thicker and not quite as sweet.

How to make pumpkin butter?

All fruit butters are made by cooking the fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit) at a low temperature until all the moisture is removed. It’s then mashed into a paste and seasoned with sugar and a variety of spices. Pretty simple, right?

Have you ever tried to peel a pumpkin? I have, and it’s not fun. That would be the first step in making pumpkin butter and that may stop you from even trying it. Thankfully, you can find canned pumpkin puree almost anywhere, which significantly cuts down on preparation time.

There are tons of recipes for homemade pumpkin butter out there and they generally include the following: pumpkin puree, brown sugar, apple cider or juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger if ya’ nasty. Slap all this in a pot and bring it to a boil. Then bring the heat down to a simmer for about half an hour or until it gets thick. Let it cool, scoop it into a jar, and apply it liberally everywhere.

If you don’t have the time or gumption to make your own, there are a lot of pumpkin butters on the market. I highly suggest Trader Joe’s brand.

What are some pumpkin butter uses?

If you spread pumpkin butter on a scone, English muffin, or a simple piece of seeded bread, your day is starting off right. But if you really want to celebrate the pumpkin—and you should—for the Halloween season (the day after Labor Day to the weekend after Halloween), here are some excellent uses for pumpkin butter:

  • A mix-in with granola and yogurt
  • A side with warmed-up brie and crackers
  • An addition to homemade bread dough
  • A sauce to accompany a roast pork or chicken dish (preferably with candied pecans)
  • A syrup substitute for French toast or pancakes
  • A dollop on vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce

Or just eat it right out of the jar. The Halloween Spirits demand it.

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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