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1.2.4 Fruit butters in general, and apple butter in particular..


This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker ericnospam@getcomputing.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.2.4 Fruit butters in general, and apple butter in particular..

From: Barb Schaller Re cooking and doneness of fruit butters, this
from Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook, Doubleday, 1964:
"1). Measure the pulp and sugar into a large kettle; add the
salt. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. As the
butter becomes thick, lower heat to reduce spattering. 2). Add spices
and lemon juice, if used. 3) ***Continue cooking until but- ter is
thick enough almost to flake off the spoon, or as Grandmother used to
say: "Until it is thick enough to spread." Another test for
consistency is to pour a tablespoon of the hot butter onto a chilled
plate -- if no rim of liquid forms around the edge of the butter, it
is ready for canning.*** 4) Pour into hot jars and seal. Process pints
and quarts in hot-water bath 10 minutes. That said, let me say this
about that: This is not a fast project. Time and patience are
everything. I do not bring my pulp to boil over high heat; med- ium
high at best, watching and stirring diligently to it won't stick and
scorch. Then reduce the heat! A mesh spatter shield is invaluable to
me when I do this because the pulp thickens as the liquid evaporates;
as the pulp thickens the spattering increases; covering the pan to
protect from spattering hinders evaporation. The closer you think you
are to "done," the more attention you'll want to give it. Too-fast
cooking at too high a heat will caramelize the sugar in the recipe and
leave you with something akin to jam. Trust me on this; I've ruined
more than one batch of apricot butter in my time. Additionally, I'd
process them longer than the 10 minutes, espec- ially if the butter is
less than boiling when it's put into the jars -- I had a couple of
jars not seal. The butter is dense and takes longer to heat through to
ensure the seal. The butter can also be baked (a fine alternative,
especially if you're in a cool climate and welcome the warmth of the
oven). Pour the seasoned and sweetened pulp into a shallow (9x13 inch
pan minimum) pan -- or a shallow roasting pan. Bake at about 325
degrees F until thick, stirring every 20-30 minutes so an
evaporation-induced crust doesn't form on the top. Not as complicated
as it might look. Wonderful treat. Worth the effort. Apple Butter
Recipe It's what I did. And I actually *measured* things. :-)

* 12 cups apple pulp (I used locally grown Haralsons)
* 3 to 4 cups sugar (begin with 3, I added the 4th to my taste)
* 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1/8 tsp. freshly ground allspice
* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
* 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (do not overdo cloves; taste can be
* 1/4 cup white vinegar

Make pulp: Core but do not peel apples. Cook slowly with about an inch
or two of water added, stirring to prevent sticking. Put through a
food mill to make pulp. If you use more water and boil the heck out of
them, do drain in a colander to eliminate the extra liquid. Measure
pulp into at least a 6-quart dutch oven, stir in remaining ingredients
and cook slowly, uncovered, for several hours to desired
thickness. Feel free to correct the spices to your taste; adding in
cautious amounts. Can in hot, sterilized jars, process in boiling
water bath maybe 20 minutes. If my schedule requires it, I make it a
two-day project. It sits fine overnight, covered. Use imaginatively:
I use as a condiment as often as a bread spread; we like it with roast
pork or chops. I swirl it into my cream cheese coffee cake filling. If
it's thick enough, fill a cookie with it.


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