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Fruit butter keeps harvest tasty all year

By on September 25, 2008

apple butter

Are you preserving your garden harvest? Maybe you’ve already “put up” dozens of jars this year. Whether you’re looking to add to your canning supplies or are just starting out, now is a good time to buy them. Check garage sales, thrift stores and clearance shelves at your local discount and grocery stores. Remember to check used jars for cracks and chips, and don’t reuse lids. If you’re still preserving or are looking for something different to preserve next year, make fruit butter. It’s wonderful to enjoy throughout the year and makes a great gift item, too.

Note: If you don’t follow the proper safety procedures for canning, you and your family could suffer serious health consequences. Go online to websites such as Fresh Preserving, contact your local cooperative extension, or pick up a book from the library to learn more about proper canning procedures.

Slow-Cooker Apple Butter

5 to 6 pounds apples
4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cook’s note: Great on toast, biscuits and muffins but excellent on turkey or ham sandwiches, pork chops, cottage cheese, French toast, pancakes, waffles and oatmeal, too.

Peel, core and chop apples, and fill slow cooker until it’s heaping full. Place remaining ingredients in a slow cooker with apples. The amount will reduce as it cooks. Cover, and cook on high for 1 hour, then lower heat and slow-cook for 9 hours. Remove lid, and continue to slow cook an additional 1/2 hour to an hour or until thick and brown with no liquid left. Place in hot sterilized jars. Set in hot-water bath with lids on for 10 minutes. Boil until seal is secure, and set aside to cool. — Donna, Iowa

Pear Butter

15 ripe Bartlett pears
2 cups water
6 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Slice ripe pears (not cored or peeled) into a large saucepan. Add water, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and press the pears through a sieve or food mill. Return pulp to pan. In a frying pan, heat 1-1/2 cups of the sugar, stirring until it dissolves, caramelizes and becomes brown. Add melted sugar to the pear pulp. Add the remaining sugar, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Cook uncovered, approximately 40 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat, and pour mixture into jars. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. — Brandy, e-mail

Banana Butter

10 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (6 ounce) bottle liquid pectin
1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped (optional)

Measure 3 cups mashed bananas, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon, and add to a large saucepan. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the pectin. Mix well. Pour into clean, hot sterilized jars, and seal. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Optional: Can add 1/4 cup chopped golden raisins and/or 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries when you add the pectin.

Peach Butter

4 pounds peaches
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring, optional
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place peaches in boiling water a few at a time for 30 seconds. Remove from water, and peel. Remove pits. Mash peaches, and combine them and remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower to low-medium heat, stir frequently for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until thickened. Fill hot sterilized jars to within 1/4-inch from the top, and seal. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove, and set aside to cool.

photo by Rusty Keller

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