Mrs. K At Home This and that, and all the things I love!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer Ending, Jam Making and a Tropical Storm!

So, here we are at the end of August! I am so looking forward to Autumn, well, I always do. It is my very favorite time of year. I have fond memories. Now, however, I have a lot to keep me occupied as I finish up summer. Jam, or more specifically fruit butter, making commences. I am also making some new pomanders, stitching away on various projects, especially holiday ornaments, and deciding on my Autumn decor.

Early last week I made a lovely batch of spiced peach butter. The peaches were perfect and I really enjoy the process. I have been using a stock pot with a cake rack in the bottom for processing my half pint jars, but came across an enameled pot of perfect size with a steamer rack in the bottom. The price was right too. It worked perfectly. However, my new stove runs much hotter than my old 1973 model, so I had to keep my eye on the canner.

I peel and roughly slice my peaches, add them to a small amount of water, then cover and cook until soft. Into the food processor they go to be whirled into a golden puree. I measure the puree and use about half a cup of sugar per cup of puree, holding back the last half cup of sugar until I taste. This year I used half brown sugar and half white. Cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg are also tossed into the pot and the cooking begins.

I bring this lovely blend of lusciousness just to a boil, then turn the heat down and cook until it is just the right consistency. I keep a little dessert plate in the freezer during the cooking, then when I need to test, I drop a pinch onto the plate and stick it back in the freezer for a minute. If it is the right consistency, we're good to go, otherwise back to simmering.

The color get darker from the spices, I keep testing until it's just right. My jar, lids and screw bands are ready to go and I ladle that golden deliciousness into the jars. I process the jars in a water bath canner for fifteen minutes, remove the jars and wait for that wonderful little ping that signals my lids have sealed.

I just love making these fruit butters. The book in the photo above is from The Good Cook series, which I subscribed to in the 1980s. This particular book is where I learned how to make jams and can. It is rather splattered and worn, but still serves me well. Later today I will be making plum butter - oh, most precious jewel of fruit butters! It is a glorious color and a favorite of mine. I would have done this Sunday, but we had the interesting experience of a tropical storm; Isaac came to visit. At least he was polite, leaving little damage, but that rain pounded our windows and the wind howled all day and night Sunday, as well as Monday morning. I was worried that I would lose power in the middle of the process, so held off. We had a few blinks, but no loss of electricity, just our cable, but even that wasn't very long - thank you Comcast!

In any event, my husband dipped into the peach butter as a condiment for the pork tenderloin I made for dinner last night. He thought it was quite tasty. I sure hope some of those jars last through to the holidays, I plan to give it as gifts. Oh, well, there will be plum butter and apple butter too, so I should be safe!

I have been stitching away, as usual. I have a new favorite designer, The Little Stitcher. Her designs are primitive and just my style. You can see her designs here at her blog:

The Granny and The Deer

Not only are her designs lovely, but she is a very sweet gal. Her designs are available as digital downloads - yay, instant gratification!!!! Of course, the usual paper is available as well. She has a freebie little pair of mermaids available if you leave your email address. I am working on three of her, what I call, harvest designs: Tansy, Yarrow, Rue, The Harvest of Ancestors, and The Granny and the Deer. They are simple, but very meaningful designs. In addition, I am stitching on Salem Remembered, by The Primitive Needle. I had lost one of the chart pages while taking my mother to doctors and just could find another copy anywhere. Luckily for me, a lovely person offered me her copy and I am back in the saddle or, uh needle, so to speak.

In any event, I should be off to the connubial couch as the clock has struck two. My dear husband has come down with a summer cold, yes, in the middle of a tropical storm, he catches cold and I want to add a little eucalyptus oil to the aromatherapy atomizer to help him breathe a little easier.  Oh well, it rained and it poured!

Basic Fruit Butter Recipe

Prepare your fruit, depending on the type. Peaches should be peeled and cooked in a little water; apricots simply put through the food processor uncooked; plums cooked whole in a little water, and then put through a food mill. After pureeing the fruit, measure it, for each cup of puree, add a half cup of sugar. Hold back the last half cup until you taste to see if it is needed. Sometimes, a little more sugar may be needed. Add any spices, as you like. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until a spoon dragged through the butter leaves a trail. Check for the right consistency by placing a bit on a chilled plate. There should not be any water around the fruit butter and when chilled for a minute, it should be the right thickness. Fill sterilized half pint jars, place lids and screw bands, then process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Deliciously yours,
Mrs. K


  1. First you are such a dear for sending me a well wish just when I needed it.
    I adore fruit butters as well. GK and I made some peach butter, week before last and also cherry jam. We have pumpkin butter fiends here at our house so that is "the One" that all of us love. And I am going to try a green chile butter this year as well.
    Your stitchery is so inviting.....and I wish I still could because it is so relaxing. You have such a lovely life view. Blessings, Oma Linda

  2. I know so few folks who make fruit butters, so nice to have a bud that does! Cherry jam - ooh, sound delish. And green chile - wow!
    Stitching is relaxing - most of the time - depending on complexity. The photo here is from The Little Stitcher's blog - I wanted to show her design, they are so wonderful.
    Glad you liked the little wish! XOXOXO