I think some people think that you can only use apples to make fruit butters. They are so very wrong. We have made butters from many different things, some you might say OK, others you might say ???????.
One of the best butters we make is Peach Butter. You never heard of Peach Butter? Well many had never heard of it till they sampled it at our booth. It is a delightful light sweet taste. You know it is peaches but just not sure what else. It is also a very easy recipe, not much hands-on-time. One of the most unusual things is you use everything about the peach except the pit. So easy and so very tasty. Enough talking, lets get to cooking.
Peach Butter: Slice 1/2 bushel Peaches (with skin on and pit removed) place in large cooking pot with peach pits in a mesh bag. Add water to within 2 inches of top. Let peaches cook til mushy. Remove from heat, let cool overnight. Remove the bag of pits at this time and discard. Drain peaches (saving liquid for Peach jelly). Put thru a food mill or whatever you use to grind. You can also use a large blender. This is Peach purée. The skin of the peach adds color and flavor. If you use a blender, make sure it is all broken down. You want a smooth texture not a lumpy one.
Take 12 cups peach purée, 9 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar. Mix till sugar dissolves. Then pour into a large crock pot (if you don’t have one big enough save the leftover for the next batch. Keep in refrigerator till ready). Cook in a crock pot for 8-10 hours on low or medium, remove the lid the last 2 hours. This thickens the butter to the right or desired consistency.
To can you can use 8 ounce or 16 ounce canning jars. Make sure you use a damp paper towel and clean the rim before you place the domes and rings on. Place jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. make sure you have at least 2 inches of water over the lids. Remove and let cool. Check for unsealed jars. If you have any, they need the ring and dome removed, rim cleaned and new domes placed on the jars. You can reuse the rings, but you must replace the dome. Your final product will bring praise from your family and whoever you treat to a jar. It looks like most any butter, but the taste is no doubt peach.
Well now that we have started on other butters let’s make something that is a close cousin to peaches:
Plum Butter. The plums need to be and cut to remove the pit. If the skin is real tough, you have to peel the plums. Save the pit to be placed in a bag and cooked with the plums. We used about 1/2 bushel plums. We chopped them to make them cook better. Use a blender to purée your plums. Put your purée in large cooking pot with pits in a mesh bag. Add water to within 2 inches of top. Let plums cook til mush stage. Remove from heat, let cool over night. Take out the mesh bag of pits and discard. Drain plums (saving liquid for Plum jelly). Put thru a food mill or blender. This is now plum purée that is really smooth.
To cook use 12 cups plum purée, 8 1/2 cups sugar. Mix plums and sugar together and cook in a crock pot for 8-10 hours on low or medium until desired consistency. To can, place in 8 ounce or 16 ounce canning jars. Follow your procedure about the jars, domes and rings. Place in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove and let the jars set overnight. Check for jars that did not seal, those have to be recooked. If you used a different type of plum maybe one that has a different color, you butter will look like the meat of the plum. My plums had a dark color and looked like this.
Dark and rich with a taste that is wonderful. Use on biscuits, toast, bagels or even ice cream. This will become one of your families favorites. Something that many do not know is what a prune is. You may laugh and make the snide remark about prunes: but all they are is plums that have dried out. Plums are to prunes as raisins are to grapes. Same thing just different fruit. I don’t know of any other member of the fruit family that has that situation. Dried apples are still apples. Dried pineapple is still the same. So with that covered, I will bet that you can make:
Prune Butter: Start with pitted prunes, that will save a lot of time. Place 6 cups of prunes that you have chopped to smaller size in a pot, add water to almost cover. Simmer til prunes are soft and mushy. Allow to cool. Place in a blender and purée or put thru a food mill. Add your purée to a crock pot. Add the rind of a lemon and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 5 cups sugar. Mix till sugar is dissolved. Cook 4 to 6 hours on low or medium with the lid removed the last hour or so. This will allow your butter to thicken. Place in 6 ounce jars and process as above.
You can use this as you would any butter, but it is also a handy item in baking. If you ever visit a real Jewish deli, look in the pastry section. I’ll bet they have prune danish. The best place to look for prune butter is the kosher section of your supermarket or a kosher market, where it may be labeled as “Levkar.” Kosher prune butter is usually sold in a jar or canned for use as a pastry filling. So it is not an unusual item after all.
Next on our list something I will bet you have tasted at a party during the fall holidays
Pumpkin Butter: We will use canned pumpkin that you can find in your grocer store. It is easier than starting with a pumpkin. Using a pumpkin to make this butter has a better taste, but the work is big time and you would probably not make this, so canned pumpkin is the choice. If you want the recipe for using a fresh pumpkin, send me an e-mail and I will send it to you.
In a large pot add 12 cups canned pumpkin, 2 1/2 cups apple juice, 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar, 8 cups sugar, 3 cups brown sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon (fresh is best)nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Mix added ingredients completely. Put in crock pots and cook 4-6 hours on low to medium. Put in 8 oz canning jars. Process 10 minutes and 10 pounds pressure in a pressure cooker. You have to use a pressure cooker because pumpkin is a vegetable. This means the sugar content is not enough for traditional canning of fruit.
Pumpkin butter is different from the above butters. They are fruit and pumpkin is a vegetable. It is a member of the squash family. This is why you have to use a pressure cooker. Be very careful, as many errors are made with pressure cookers. You don’t want big problems! After all this trouble, pumpkin butter had better taste awesome. It does. Use to make thumb print cookies for example.I have one more for you in this blog. I don’t know if you noticed but all the things used to make butters has names that start with “P”. Didn’t plan it; just happened by accident. Well in keeping with the “P” Theme, the last recipe is Sweet Potato Butter. Sorry about having a “S” word with it.
Sweet Potato Butter: This is the recipe for canned yams or sweet potatoes. 12 cups yams in syrup, 12 cups yams-solid pack, 4 cups apple juice, 8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 2 tablespoons citric acid, 12 cups sugar, 1 cup com syrup (if you don’t like to use corn syrup, use 1 cup sugar or brown sugar). Use a mixing bowl and and use your electric mixer, use the syrup and apple juice to cut thickness. Mix till you get a smooth consistency. Then place in crock pots and cook 8 hours on low or medium heat. Put in 8 ounce canning jars (16oz is OK, but most people like 80z). Use the same technique as above about the domes and rings. Process 10 minutes and 10 lbs pressure in pressure cooker. Yes you got to use your presser cooker again.
You can make this from fresh sweet potatoes if you like. Start by baking the potatoes. Then dice them into small cubes and boil them in apple juice till soft (sort of like mashed potatoes). Blend till smooth and add your spices. Fresh tastes better than canned, but more work. If you have the time do fresh. I have a chart for you to look at. I hope this shows you just what is needed for fresh potatoes.
Some times we get asked which fruit or vegetables are best to use. We usually don’t have a real favorite, but with Sweet Potato Butter we do. If we are going to start from the potato and not the can opener, we use sweet potatoes from Mississippi. We have found them to be the best in taste, texture and when cooked the best flavor. No one is paying for this endorsement (I wish they would). We discovered this with trial and error. We found the best tasting and selling batches were the ones made with Mississippi Sweet Potatoes. Don’t know why, just did.
I forgot to check and see if my grandmother made these butters. I said we were going to get back there this time. The next may or may not be more along the Grandma line, you are going to have to check back and find out just what is under the big white hat. Some say it is nothing. Just hot air.
Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. Just drop me a note at email@example.com.
Don’t keep my blogs a secret, pass the word on to your friends, neighbors and family members. They just might make something and share with you.
Please feel free to share my blog on Facebook or Twitter or even MySpace.com. any place you want to share it. Help spread the word about cooking the crazy way, or not so crazy sometimes.
Don’t forget, if someone asks you if you can?