Winter squash, honey, warm spices and zesty citrus combine to make a delicious homemade butter.
As a native New Englander, I have been eating winter squash my whole life. Not many vegetables grow well in northern Maine, but winter squash seems to love the weather. Thus we grow up eating winter squash mashed with butter, roasted, pureed in soups or chopped for veggie soup, stuffed with rice and turned into pie. But I don’t ever remember eating squash butter until recently – and even then it wasn’t squash. It was a yummy maple pumpkin butter I had while on vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine.
After returning home I cleaned out the garden and set aside some of the butternut squash to experiment with. This version of squash butter turned out the best. Since butternut squash has a more delicate flavor than pumpkin, I used honey instead of maple syrup. I was afraid that maple syrup would overwhelm the squash – which should be the star of this show. Plus, I am suffering from a bait-shyness thing with maple syrup these days after getting sick around the same time I made a big batch of maple granola. I won’t be doing that again soon.
The spices have also been tweaked with less cinnamon than most pumpkin butter recipes and the addition of mace. The whole thing was brightened with orange zest and fresh orange juice.
If you can refrain from just eating the butter from the jar with a spoon, it is good spread on a ham sandwich, topping a freshly baked scone, or tucked into cake filling.
Squash and pumpkin butter cannot be safely canned at home. Place jars of the butter in the freezer for future use. And be sure to add the zest after the butter is all done cooking. Adding the zest while cooking will make the butter bitter.
- 3 cups cooked, pureed butternut squash
- 1½ cups mild honey
- zest from 1 large orange
- juice from 1 large orange
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground mace
- Add all ingredients except orange zest to a large saucepan.
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook until smooth and thick.
- Stir in orange zest.
- Fill ½ pint canning jars.
- Refrigerate for up to a month, or store in freezer.