I’d forgotten how wonderful autumn in Korea was. The sun brightens the flittering breeze as the sky is seamless with not a gloomy cloud in sight. Looking at the contents of my suitcase I expected much colder temperatures, the type where long sleeves, a scarf, and a thick sweater barely gets you by, but I am pleasantly surprised that the sweater can wait. I am also surprised how normal and comfortable I already am here. Sure, I’m still jetlagged dozing off at 8 pm as my brother only begins to open his textbooks, but I instantly felt at ease when I landed here. I guess that’s the meaning of home, when you still feel like a part of the house you grew up in, not like a visiting guest. Maybe I’m anticipating the moment when this place doesn’t feel that way anymore that I don’t realize that I haven’t gotten there yet. It’s nice. I’ve always felt like such an old soul, a grandma in a youth’s body that I welcome the idea that I still have a lot of growing up to do.
I haven’t cooked much during the past week. I’ve been too busy stuffing my belly with my mom’s food that I’ve barely thought about stepping into the kitchen. However, I made a goal to cook more often, so everyone! You stand witness to this vow of mine, I hope I won’t let you down.
Speaking of letting someone down, I find that anything with the ingredient pumpkin fails me not. I recently posted a recipe for a scrumptious beyond scrumptious pumpkin cake, today I will be sharing a great pumpkin butter recipe, and in the future you can expect more pumpkin deliciousness. I just can’t get enough!
I discovered pumpkin butter about two years ago at Trader Joe’s. I had heard amazing reviews about the seasonal product and my expectations were exceeded. It’s like Thanksgiving pie in the form of jam. Who wouldn’t love that?!
Trader Joe’s does not exist in Korea and in many other parts of the world, so I thought I’d try making my own. I didn’t set out to replicate the one I bought, because that would be setting myself up for failure, but I sought to create something homier and more rustic, a.k.a something with lumps and chunks, lacking a shiny glaze but melt in your mouth amazing. I found a really simple recipe from Martha Stewart and used that as a guideline. In the middle of cooking, I decided to follow one of Martha’s “Helpful Hints” at the bottom of the link and added some apple pieces to half of the pumpkin mixture. The half batch with apples was brighter and lightened the heaviness of the pumpkin. I preferred it to the plain pumpkin butter, but do what I did. Split the recipe into two pots and make two kinds. Find out for yourself which one you like better!
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 2 cups
1 ½ to 2 lbs pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/3 cup brown sugar, or to taste
Pinch of salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Combine all ingredients into a pot. Pour about 5-6 tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for 20 minutes. The mixture will thicken. Blend pumpkin mixture and bring back to the stove. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Cool and serve.
*Add one large apple, diced, before cooking the pumpkin to make Apple Pumpkin Butter.