Slow-cooker Pumpkin Butter (Healthier, Spicier Version)
I love pumpkin. My husband LOVES pumpkin. And everybody else seems to love it too. Starting in fall, EVERY food places around here, starting with Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, are offering donuts, muffins, ice creams, etc. flavored with this otherwise healthy vegetable. These pumpkin food items are often sabotaged with incredible amount of sugar and other additives – for example Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte (Grande) has almost 400 calories and 50g of sugar! What a shame, that this delicious healthy vegetable gets used to get people loaded up with sugar, fat, and calories!
Pumpkin butter is one way to add pumpkin flavor to your foods without having to go too extreme, as in a pumpkin-glazed donut. Add a spoonful to oatmeal, whole grain toasts, fruits, cheeses, soups… My favorite way to eat it is to mix with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. I usually buy mine at the Trader Joe’s (see this jar I had saved with a cute label) – and while it’s nutrition profile is healthier than some other conventional pumpkin butter, it still has 9g of sugar per tablespoon.
Even though I usually don’t have time to cook now days, when I saw a blog post for making your own Slow-cooker Pumpkin Butter, I had to give it a shot. I love slow-cooker recipes because you can throw the ingredients together then forget about it for hours. You can check out the recipe and step by step direction and photos by clicking the link above. But, you may notice… that it calls for sh*tload of white sugar (in my opinion, some may say its not that bad) and it lacks nutrition information.
So here are some modifications I made to mine for a healthier version:
- Instead of 3/4 cup of white sugar – I used 1/3 cup of organic raw honey.
- Instead of apple juice, I used 1/4 cup of no-sugar added cranberry juice.
- I added more spices to make “Spicy Pumpkin Butter” (My mother-in-law taught me the perfect combination of the spices to make a spicy pumpkin pie filling, but the correct ratio is a Kelleher SECRET!)
- I started at Low setting but had to move it up to High because it was not thickening. Cooked all day 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally when the delicious smell of pumpkin called me to it.
The final product is not-so-sweet, but just-right, spicy, pumpkin-y yummy goodness. 1 tablespoon has 24 calories and 4g of sugar (compared to 40 calories, 9g sugar of TJ’s) AND I recycled the jar from TJ’s and keeping it in the fridge. SCORE! ENJOY!