Preserving Spring: Strawberry Rhubarb Butter

A few years ago, I decided to spend a summer focused on preserving fruit butters instead of my beloved jams.

I went the butter route because I realized that while I loved the act of making jam, I needed my canning habit to involve less sugar and have smaller yields.

weighing rhubarb-1

Fruit butters are made from whole pureed fruit that is cooked down slowly over low heat, until the water is dissolved and the natural sugars are concentrated and delicious. You end up with a fairly small amount of spreadable, flavorful product that needs very little in the way of additional sugar.

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Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Butter

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

This time of year, it is only natural that a home cook’s fancy turns to pumpkin. Between the jack-o-lanterns standing sentinel near your front door and the knobby whole pumpkins you picked up at the farmers’ market over the weekend, your world is probably filled with all things orange and squashy right now.

Thing is, pumpkins are good for so much more than decoration. They can be steamed and pureed into pie filling. For a seasonal meatless main dish, there’s nothing better than roasted pumpkin cubes stirred into sage-spiced risotto, or pumpkin mac & cheese for the little ones.

And then there’s pumpkin butter. It’s delicious on toast, tasty stirred into oatmeal and even good simply eaten by the spoonful out of the jar. [Read more…]

Slow-Cooker Cran-Apple Butter

Today I’m guest posting for Andrew as part of the October Unprocesed challenge. You can find me on Eating Rules with a sweet and simple recipe for Slow-Cooker Cran-Apple Butter.

From the post:

“Smooth, spiced apple butter has become an integral part of autumn around here, with alternating flavorings such as vanilla bean, cinnamon, and cardamom taking turns jazzing up the fruit spread.

This year I’ve been obsessed with mixed fruit butters and couldn’t get the thought of adding fresh cranberries to my apple butter out of my head. It turns out that the tangy, deep red preserve is one of the prettiest and most flavorful of them all.”

Read the rest and get the recipe over on Eating Rules. I’ll see you in the comments!

Note: I know I talked about delivering a recipe for chocolate beet cake today… it will come this week, I promise!

Happy Thanksgiving Monday to my Canadian readers!

Blueberry-Plum Butter (in the slow-cooker)

Each visit to the market in August finds me with 4-5 pints of blueberries in my basket. I always have high ambitions for jam or pie, muffins or cake, and yet invariably, we always gobble them up in enormous handfuls (and the occasional smoothie) before I can work them into a recipe.

Last week, I had a busy day, but was determined to preserve some of their blueberry goodness in jars before the short season was over. With three kids at home and two separate meetings to attend, my day felt too busy for jam or pie. Fortunately I had a recipe for slow-cooker blueberry butter bookmarked in Marisa’s Food in Jars cookbook, and knew it would be something I could accomplish while highly distracted.

Puree fruit. Simmer in the slow-cooker for the day. Process it in jars in the evening. That’s exactly what I did.The next morning when I cracked open a jar and dipped a spoon inside, I just knew I needed to share the recipe.

This fruit butter receives high scores for simplicity, and is full on delicious; it’s hard to imagine a nicer way to start the morning.

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Small Batch Pear Cranberry Compote

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

By the time November rolls around, the abundance of summer is well behind us. No more mountains of peaches and plums at the farmers’ markets, just pumpkins, potatoes and hearty greens. It’s enough to make a preserver hang up her canning pot until spring.

However, I’ve found that if I spend just a little bit of time searching out ingredients, there’s still a world of delicious things just waiting to be cooked up and put into jars.

All photos by Marisa

Chief among those this time of year are pears and cranberries.

Not only do they both come in a world of varieties, but they make such excellent sauces, jams and butters. I like to cook with thin-skinned pears like Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou pears, because they don’t need to be peeled before cooking.

This is the first year that I’ve combined the two, and I must confess, I’m smitten with the result. This preserve is halfway between a sauce and a butter, making it good both for stirring into yogurt or dolloping atop a short stack of pancakes (or, if I’m being entirely honest, eating straight out of the jar).

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