Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Butter: The Revenge

The following tale is a harrowing, totally true account of how I finally hacked a sugar pumpkin in two. Read on … if you dare.

When: A brisk October night, 2010

Where: A vaguely haunted Brooklyn kitchen


  • Kris, a pale, tall, somewhat uncoordinated 32-year-old writer/cook, whose only goal for the evening is harvesting the sweet flesh of autumn gourds.
  • The Sugar Pumpkin, a three-pound, iron-hided, carrot-hued possible herald of Satan.
Kris creeps warily into the kitchen, clutching a large chef’s knife. There is a single fluorescent light overhead, casting shadows long and stark across the linoleum.

KRIS: Hello? Is there anyone there? Anyone? Hellooooo?

There is only silence.

KRIS: Marco?



The Sugar Pumpkin leaps from the refrigerator to Kris’ shoulder, but promptly plummets to the ground, as it has no limbs with which to choke her.

TSP: Dang. That never works.

KRIS: Sugar Pumpkin! I knew you were hiding here somewhere. How did you get on top of the fridge? With your evil, Lucifer-given powers, I bet.

TSP: You left me there when you were unloading the groceries.

KRIS: Nice try, demon! But it’s all too obvious; denizens of the netherworld bestowed the gift of flight upon you.

TSP: No, look, the bananas are up there, too.

KRIS: Not the bananas! Mephistopheles got to them, as well?

TSP: Seriously, you just forgot.

KRIS: Never thee mind, fiend! Because now … it is time for you to die.

Kris lunges at The Sugar Pumpkin with her blade.


Kris fails.

KRIS: Crap.

TSP: Ha! Nice try, kid. But I’m invincible, and it wasn’t the devil that did it. Your supermarket blasted me with gamma rays, to ensure that hapless home cooks like yourself never have access to my sweet, low-calorie flesh.

KRIS: But how will I create pumpkin butter, with which to spread on quickbreads and dollop on top of oatmeal and make into pancakes?

TSP: You got me.

KRIS: Also, gamma rays? Isn’t that a Hulk thing? Shouldn’t you be green?

TSP: You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Anyhoo, I’ll be on my way.


Kris finds an axe behind the fridge.

KRIS: Die! Die! For real this time!

Kris buries the axe in her own foot.


TSP: Hm. Unexpected.

KRIS: Okay. I’m going to need a band-aid here.

TSP: Wow! Check out the patterns your blood spatter is making! (motions to wall) That one looks like a ducky.

KRIS (pointing at ceiling): Oo! And there's Carl Yastrzemski!

TSP: I would have said Elliott Gould, but I can see what you’re going for.

They laugh for a good five minutes.

KRIS: You know, this is fun and all, but I’m starting to lose consciousness.

TSP: Here. Let me get you a towel.

KRIS: That’s very sweet of you, Sugar Pumpkin. I appreciate that.

TSP: Really, it’s no problem.

The Sugar Pumpkin turns his back for the towel. Kris, despite being attached via axe to the kitchen floor, gathers her remaining strength and clobbers TSP with a kitchen chair. It splits in half.

TSP: NOOOOO! But … but … I … I was … Lowenstein …

KRIS: Sorry, gourd. Halloween recipes take no prisoners.

TSP: Blerg.

The Sugar Pumpkin dies.

KRIS: Hm. Still bleeding. (begins to yell) Is anyone else home? Hellooooo? HELLOOOOOO? I’m starting to feel FAIIIIIINT!

Kris blacks out, but raises her head one final time to impart hard earned words of wisdom for the ages.

KRIS: In retrospect, this was not well planned.



If this tickles your orange fancy, you might also enjoy:

Pumpkin Butter
Makes about 3 cups, or 32 servings of 1-1/2 tablespoons each.
Adapted from All Recipes.

1 3-lb. sugar pumpkin (Yields about 22 ounces of flesh)
1 cup apple cider
1 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed (plus more if needed)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 375°F

2) Hack pumpkin in half, however you can. (Just do it very, very carefully.) (Alternately, use a can of pumpkin puree and skip this step entirely.) Seed it and cut out the stem. Place cut-side-down in a 9x13 glass baking dish and tent loosely with tin foil. Roast about 90 minutes, or until pumpkin is easily removed from skin.

3) In a medium pot, whisk pumpkin together with apple cider. Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (Do not abandon. This stuff steams.) For extra-silky butter, use a stick blender to smooth it out when finished. Let cool a little bit and store in fridge.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
30 calories, 0.05 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, 0.16 g protein, $0.12

1 3-lb. sugar pumpkin (yields about 22 ounces of flesh): 125 calories, 0.6 g fat, 6.9 g fiber, 4.5 g protein, $2.46
1 cup apple cider: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.31
1 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed: 688 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.60
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon: 12 calories, 0.1 g fat, 2.5 g fiber, 0.2 g protein, $0.15
2 teaspoons ground ginger: 12 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0.5 g fiber, 0.3 g protein, $0.15
1 teaspoon nutmeg: 12 calories, 0.8 g fat, 0.5 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.10
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves: 2 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber. 0 g protein, $0.02
Pinch of salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
TOTAL: 971 calories, 1.6 g fat, 10.6 g fiber, 5.1 g protein, $3.80
PER SERVING (TOTAL/32): 30 calories, 0.05 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, 0.16 g protein, $0.12

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