Early American Pumpkin Butter

6 cups cooked pumpkin puree (recipe follows), or 2 (29-ounce) cans commercially prepared puree
2 cups pure maple syrup
2 cups light corn syrup
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon each: ground cloves, ground mace
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the pumpkin puree in a large, heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum pot; stir in the maple syrup and corn syrup. When these are thoroughly combined, add the remaining ingredients. Set pot over medium-high heat. When it begins to boil, partially cover it; mixture will splash profusely. Cook puree at a slow boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until it thickens and turns a darker color, for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash 5 pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

Ladle hot butter into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars.

Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes (for 20 minutes at 1,00 to 6,000 feet; for 25 minutes above 6,000 feet). Makes 5 pints.

NOTE: This recipe may seem to contain a lot of syrup and sugar, which you may be tempted to reduce. But from a food-safety standpoint, you cannot. Pumpkin is a low-acid food and needs this amount of sugar to make it safe to can by the boiling-water method.

PUMPKIN PUREE: Either bake pumpkin or boil it. To bake, poke holes with a sharp knife in whole pumpkins and place onto cookie sheets into a 350-degree oven. Bake until softened and collapsed. Scoop pulp away from peel. Puree pulp in a blender or food processor. Or boil peeled chunks of fresh pumpkin until softened. Then puree cooked pulp.

— Recipe adapted from "The Art of Accompaniment," by Jeffree Sapp Brooks.

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