Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fruit Butters

Fruit Butters are different from jams in that there is no pectin or added acid in play here. It is the mashed pulp of the fruit with added sugar that is simmered slowly until it becomes thick.

This can be treated like a jam and spread on breads or even pancakes in place of syrups that are unhealthy with their high fructose corn syrups, etc.

Be sure to cook your fruits in an enamel or stainless steel pot using a wooden spoon over a low heat. This will prevent the pans from giving your butter a metallic taste. Finish your butters off with seasonings of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, or whichever are your favorites.















Basic Instructions:



Step 1: Wash and cut up the fruit of choice, remove pits and seeds and crush the fruit using a potato masher. Measure the pulp and then put it into a heavy bottomed pot.



Step 2: Measure out half as much water as there is fruit pulp to the pot. Cook this over a low flame, and stir constantly until the fruit becomes soft.



Step 3: Remove the fruit pulp and put into a strainer or colander. Press firmly through to get rid of the skins and any tough pieces. Take this strained fruit pulp and put it through a blender or food processor until it is a smooth puree.



Step 4: Pour the pulp back into the original pot and add ½ cup of sugar per cup of fruit pulp. Return the pot to the stove and put on low flame.



Step 5: While stirring the mixture constantly to prevent scorching on bottom of pan, continue cooking on low until it becomes thick and glossy.





Canning Your Fruit Butter



Pour into hot sterilized canning jars and leave ½” of space at the top.

Put into a hot water bath in your canner and cover the jars 1” about their lids-Process for the following altitudes.







15 min. (pints), 20 min. (quarts)--> sea level -1,000 ft. altitude

20 min. (pints), 25 min. (quarts)--> 1,001 - 3,000 ft. altitude

20 min. (pints), 30 min. (quarts)--> 3,001 – 6,000 ft. altitude

25 min. (pints), 35 min. (quarts)--> For altitudes above 6,000 ft.



Freezing Your Fruit Butter

Pour into a freezer safe container, and let it air cool first. Seal with a lid and put into the freezer, leave some room for this to expand. Make sure that this fruit butter is heavily sweetened, or it may mold in as little as two weeks when removed from the freezer and used-even if it is kept refrigerated! But if you have a family with a healthy appetite then you should have nothing to fear.



Fruit Butter Recipes:



Apple Butter



8 cups pureed cooked down apples

½ tsp. cloves

½ tsp. allspice

2 c. brown sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

Grated rind of one lemon



Mix all of the above ingredients together and spread in a shallow baking pan. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F, and bake while stirring occasionally until it becomes thick (approx. 4 hours). Pack into hot, sterile canning jars. Process in a hot water bath for the length of time mentioned above depending on your altitude. This makes 2½ pints.



Old Fashioned Apple Cider Butter



Boil 6 cups of apple cider in an enamel or stainless steel pot. (You can also instead boil down 12 cups of cider until it gets to 6 cups, to make the batch extra red). While the cider is boiling, peel, core, and quarter slice about 10 lb. of apples. Add these apples to your boiling cider. Reduce the heat and cook slowly until the apples become soft. Push this mixture through a colander to remove hard bits. Put your mixture back into the pot and add 1½ c. of brown sugar, or more depending on how sweet you want it. Add to this ¼ tsp. allspice, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. cloves, and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking your butter over a low flame while stirring non-stop. Don’t stop cooking this down until the cider and your apples no longer separate when spooned onto a plate. It should be a thick uniform mass. Pour into appropriate containers whether you are planning on canning or freezing. See above instructions for both.





Chokecherry-Apple Butter



Take 4 c. mashed apple pulp and 2 c. of seedless chokecherry pulp. Mix together evenly and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Add sugar to your taste and ½ tsp. of almond extract. Cook down until smooth and velvety-Process either by canning or freezing. See above.





Peach Butter



Take 7 lb. of whole peaches. Scald them, peel, remove the pits and cut up. Cook in ½ c. of water over a low flame slowly until they become very soft. This will take you about 3 hours. Then sieve the pulp to get out any hard bits. Add to this 1 ½ c. brown sugar to taste. Can or freeze, see above.





Apple-Plum Butter



The ratio of apples to plums should be 2:1 or 3:1. Cut up the fruit and cook with just enough water to keep them from scorching on the pots bottom. Push the pulp through a colander to get out the hard bits. Return mixture to pot and add sugar to sweeten to your tastes. Continue cooking until the butter becomes nice and thick. Process as above.




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