Preserves in Action: Pumpkin Butter Oats

October 18, 2013(updated on October 18, 2023)
pumpkin butter oats

A few weeks back, I unearthed a jar of this pumpkin butter from the far corner of my freezer. Since it was going on a year old, I pulled it out and have been making a point of eating my way through it (truly, it’s no great hardship). There are a number of  ways to use pumpkin butter to good effect, but my favorite is to stir a heaping spoonful into a pot of creamy morning oats. It’s both seasonal and delicious.

I’m not sure if this is common knowledge or not, but there is a secret to making creamy oats. The trick is to start with cold water and then cook the oatmeal over very low heat for ten or fifteen minutes. The slow heat gives the oats a chance to soften and release their starches. If you start with hot water and cook quickly, the oats never get a chance to soften and you wind up with a bowl of stiff oat flakes in runny grey liquid. Not my idea of an appealing breakfast.

For a single serving, I start with a scant 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats, a generous cup of water, and a pinch of sea salt. I stir that together in a little pot, put a lid on, and set it over the lowest heat my stove can manage. While the oats heat, I check email, make tea, and generally putter around until the water around the edges of the pan is beginning to bubble just a little bit.

Once I see signs of simmer, I turn the heat up and stir vigorously. The water suddenly thickens and the oats soften. I stir in about two tablespoons of pumpkin butter (or apple pie filling or pear butter) and a splash of milk. When the oatmeal looks finished, I pull it off the heat and add a few toasted walnuts and some kind of dried fruit (right now, I’m partial to dried cherries).

It makes a really great autumn breakfast and uses up those jars of preserves to very good effect.

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14 thoughts on "Preserves in Action: Pumpkin Butter Oats"

  • Another way that gets the oats super creamy is to soak them overnight in the equivalent amount of water and a little bit of salt. (I use 1/2 teaspoon per cup of rolled oats.) A couple tablespoons of whey or lemon juice also helps to deactivate the antinutrient properties of grains. Then, in the morning add another equivalent amount of water and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.

    This is a Weston Price way with grains. For more info, see Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

    1. Thanks, Michele. I’m definitely going to try this. With a long commute to work and a morning workout, I don’t have much time to pull breakfast together, and I just can;t make myself get up any earlier. I love oatmeal, but am forced into the less-than-stellar results of microwaved oats. I can make time to use this method, especially since most of the work is done overnight. It also adds to my repetoire of ways to use the whey from a cheese-making session.

  • I’m from and live in Scotland, the land of porridge (oats). As Michele says, soak your oats overnight and you will have the creamiest oats in the morning once cooked. We also add salt. Once the oats are cooked we add a dash of milk (or cream) to them once they are poured in the bowl. We rarely add anything else.

    In days of old porridge used to be poured into a “porridge drawer” and, once it had cooled, it could be cut up into slices. These were easier to carry than brittle oatcakes.

  • I like overnighting steel cut oats in a pint jar (1/4 c. oats, 1/2 c. milk, 1 c. water, pinch of salt, and sometimes a little flax seed) in a slow cooker, with enough water to come half-way up on the jar. Place the slow cooker lid on top, and set on low. Makes more than one serving and can be doctored to one’s liking. I think regular oats would be, indeed, very creamy cooked this way. I will say that, while I find a mason jar charming, it’s not as cute as that pan and spoon.

  • I like my oats with a bit of tooth; no creamy smoothness for me. In the winter, I eat a lot of grain cereal, steel cut oats and the like. A good breakfast is a great start to my day.

  • I realize it is probably not safe to can pumpkin, however, you cannot show and tell about such deliciousness and not give a recipe for the ‘frozen’ Pumpkin Butter. Love your site. I have been canning more than fifty years and still learning about new ways to preserve. Thank you so much.

  • Pumpkin butter sounds great! I was hoping you’d share that recipe. I know—Google!
    We don’t like creamy oatmeal either. We call our oats, Nuts and Bolts! I make mine with equal amounts of boiling water and thick cut oats cooking at medium temp until water evaporates. Maybe a minute or two. I also make it more crunchy by adding chopped nuts, sunflower and chia seeds, raisins, and protein meal along with the oats. Typically serve it with fresh berries. The Pumpkin Butter would add a great seasonal taste! Thanks for sharing a new breakfast taste!

  • Someone just told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook (also a blog). I’m so glad people share blogs with one another. Denise

  • Pumpkin butter and walnuts are my favorite additions to oatmeal. But it need not be seasonal! Pumpkin butter appears on shelves in the autumn, but you can make it easily (and better) at home. Lots of good recipes out there using canned pumpkin and average cook time is twenty minutes. Try it!