I’m feeling guilty about not posting for a whole week, and too lazy to figure out how to edit some photos I want to take, so a universal fruit butter recipe. Fruit butters should be thick, almost creamy. They get take way from long slow cooking instead of the use of pectin. Butters don’t have the bright fruitiness of jam or jelly, but that loss of flavor is compensated for by the development of carmelization during the cooking process. So:
Take a mess of fruit, Apples, Peaches, pears etc. You could mix some, but I prefer only one. Put in in a big heavy pot, with some liquid. Some juicy fruits may not need liquid — plums maybe, but most fruits do. With apples I add some fresh cider but don’t lose out on the opportunity to add some flavor. In my peach butter I add some orange juice, or you could add some wine. Only add enough liquid to start the cooking process, a cup or two should work.
Put a lid on the pot and cook over medium heat until the fruit is soft. Run the fruit through a food mill, biggest holes on the blade, and measure it. Add 1/2 of the volume of fruit pulp in sugar. I use organic cane sugar. White sugar will work, you could add some brown sugar as part of the sugar, or real maple syrup as part.
Now is the time to add some spices. You choose, but remember not to add too much, as this mixture will cook down and concentrate over a number of hours. Spicing is up to you. With apples, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg are classic. I use about a tablespoon of cardamom for 10 pounds of peaches. A squeeze of lemon is also nice and don’t forget the flavoring power of citrus rind. Use your microplane and add some orange or lemon rind.
Cook, stirring regularly, until nice and thick. Be careful to stir often as you get to the end as you don’t want it to stick and burn to the bottom of your pot. Its done when it mounds slightly on the spoon or when you can put a little on a plate an no clear liquid separates out or when it starts to fall in sheets from your spoon.
Can in the normal manner, and I use a 10 minute hot water bath.