First up - pumpkin! Both farmer's markets and grocery stores alike have an abundance of pumpkin this time of year and we couldn't think of a more delicious sounding concoction then pumpkin butter. While none of us had made it before, the recipes we found all seemed quite simple so we gave it a shot.
We used this delicious looking (and tasting!) pumpkin from the Gluscht Oase stand at the Riehen market. The gorgeous shades of orange found in their different types of pumpkin were so intense, just beautiful!
After chunking, then steaming and peeling about 3 cups of pumpkin, we pureed it using a nifty immersion blender—such a wonderful kitchen tool, we highly recommend it. Then we added apple juice, some ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Easy!
This lovely concoction cooked on the stove for about 30 minutes; meanwhile, we prepped the glass jars and lids by completely submerging them in water, turning up the heat and simmering them for about 10 minutes.
This process was super easy and the final product was a bit like fall in a jar. Very delicious on toast, morning granola, ice cream, etc. Any other ideas? :)
Thanks to Peter and Lilli Zmoos of Gluscht Oase at the Riehen Market for the beautiful pumpkin/squash, the tips, and for that beautiful gourd he gave to my daughter! (rylla)
Plum Jam with Cinnamon
After a few days of rest and half way through our Pumpkin Butter, we decided to can another fruit of late summer / early fall abundance, the plum.
When the gentleman in Riehen from whom we purchased the plums found they'd be used for jam, he insisted we add cinnamon to the mix. Feeling no ties to one particular recipe on hand, we searched the internet for combinations of plums and cinnamon. Plus, it felt like the right thing to do since a local recommended, rather insisted, on it. In the end, we found quite a few recipes and ended up averaging the results. The ingredients went a little something like this: about 20 medium plums, two cups of sugar, one cup water, one tablespoon cinnamon.
The mixture of chopped plums, water and sugar was beautiful! As you can see, we opted to leave the skins on to get as much 'healthy stuff' in the jam as possible. You know, to balance out the two cups of sugar. :) Oh, and we also used raw sugar which may have produced a bit of a darker tint.
Because of the high content of sugar we made sure to stir frequently and keep the heat on medium as to not burn the mixture.
After cooking for about 30 minutes we skimmed the pink foam off the top, added the cinnamon, taste-tested and simmered for a bit longer. Really, the cinnamon is a genius idea. It tasted so wonderful and definitely added a touch of fall to the batch.
Meanwhile, the jars were prepping in their water bath. None of us have by-the-book canning equipment here in Basel, so we opted for the same quick and easy method used for the pumpkin butter—so easy, just make sure you have kitchen tongs and a few hot pads on hand.
The process was remarkably quick—before we knew it the jam jars were filled to the brim, sealed and sitting on their heads. We read that they must sit this way for six hours, so sit they did. Also, a little note here: at the beginning of canning season Migros had a nice selection of jars and fabric lid toppers complete with cute labels.
We'd love to hear about your canning adventures—any unique combinations out there? Anything you can because it allows you to enjoy your favorite food out of season? Any canning recipes you favor because they hold a special place in your memory bank? Happy canning!