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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Plum Butter, Yum!

Yesterday was a busy day as I finally got my plum butter made; I had planned to do it Sunday, but got sidetracked with other things... reading a couple of good mysteries and stitching. I just needed a lazy day, so I gave myself one. However, those plums were ready to go and so I had to get busy.

This jam is such a gorgeous color in addition to being SO delicious! I used a mixture of dark purple and red plums, sugar, cinnamon, and just a touch of cloves. Perfection, if I do say so myself. ; )

I always begin by selecting the most luscious looking plums I can find. I needed about six pounds. I wash them  and let the soak a bit in a tub of water to which I've added some vinegar; this is to clean them really well. I then rinse and quarter them, removing the pit. I add a bit of water, just enough to keep them from sticking, cover and cook until soft. Plenty of checking and stirring is needed. Sometimes a bit more water needs to be added, but these were very juicy so I didn't have to. When softened, I put the cooked plums through a food mill, measure, so I know how much sugar to start with, and put back into the pot. Peels were disposed of and I was ready to make the fruit butter.

Sugar, I started this batch with half a cup of sugar per cup of fruit puree, then the spices, a tablespoon of cinnamon and a half teaspoon of cloves, were stirred in. I slowly brought to a boil, then reduced the heat a bit. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, I taste and make any adjustments in sugar and spice. This batch needed a half cup more sugar, but the spices were perfect.

Bubble, bubble, simmering away, stirring with my lovely, handmade, heart-shapred wooden spoon. I bought it last year at the Southern Highlands Craft Fair in Asheville, NC. Puts a bit of extra love into all this goodness. When I think the consistency is just right, I check my fruit butters by placing a bit on a chilled saucer that has been waiting in the freezer. I put the saucer back in the freezer for a moment or so, then check. Perfect timing yesterday!

Into the jars, edges wiped, lids and screwbands placed, I try not to burn my fingers on the hot, sterilized jars, but, ouch, they are hot!

I use the water bath canning method for 15 minutes. Boiling away!

 The end result... ooh deliciousness! The color is so pretty too. As the jars are removed from the canner, I wait for that "ping" as they seal - love that little sound! Naturally, Mr. K. couldn't wait to sample some, and since there was one jar that was only about two thirds filled and didn't go into the canner, he helped himself. There's always one of these left that goes right into the fridge, after the taste tester has done his job, of course!

Today... pear butter, which I've not made before. I found some lovely pears so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm rather partial to pears. I checked through my cookbooks, but couldn't find a recipe, so I checked on line and found one. I was concerned about the canning method, wanted to be sure there wasn't any issue. The recipe I found adds a little orange juice. Sounds good! I'm also going to get my pomanders done tonight and get them to curing. You can imagine how wonderful my home smells with all this going on.

Next week is apple butter time. Apple butter is my favorite. There is just something about that taste, the apples, my favorite fruit, and all those spices. I love the scent of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, along with apple and orange. I make a simmering pot pourri that keeps our little place smelling lovely with these ingredients for when I'm not making fruit butters!

Oh well, off to the kitchen!

Deliciously yours,
Mrs. K

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