Homemade Plum Butter

2012-06-08
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 2:30 h
  • Ready In : 3:0 h

Now this is another “old-fashioned” recipe, but not sure why you don’t see it more.  Growing up my aunt used to make butters and I remember getting an assortment at Christmas in pretty canning jars.  I began making this when we had our first bumper crop of plums from our tree.  What does one do with 50+ pounds of plums?  They are delicious little plums, more like Italian Prunes than plums you find at the grocery store, they are small, oval and have the brightest yellow flesh inside.  They are deliciously sweet and once they start dropping from the tree, they need to all be picked and used by weeks end!  We always have a hard time spotting them until they start to ripen as they are usually about the same size, shape and color as the leaves on the tree.  I set out finding a good butter recipe, once I did, I had another dilemma, what to use the butter for?  I would make the occasional coffee cake with cream cheese and plum butter, or for our personal dinner pork chops or roast with the butter as a marinade and glaze, but I had gallons of this stuff.  That is really where the kielbasa recipe I shared last week came from.

Homemade Plum Butter
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 lb ripe plums, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 – 5 pint size canning jars
  • food mill with fine screen.
Instructions
  1. Freeze several small plates or spoons to test butter.
  2. In a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot add all ingredients.
  3. Slowly bring to a rolling boil over medium heat (about 15 minutes), stirring frequently.
  4. Boil, uncovered, stirring frequently, until plums are tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Purée plums with liquid in batches in food mill set over a bowl.
  6. This will either puree or separate the majority of the skins, while giving the butter a nice color from the skin if using a yellow plum.
  7. Transfer purée back to the pot and simmer over low heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pan frequently, until very thick, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  8. To test for doneness, drop a spoonful of plum butter on a chilled plate, then tilt; the mixture should not be runny. It should be about as thick as jam. Alternatively you can use a frozen spoon, dipped in and held bottom side up to see its thickness.
  9. This is also a good point to do a taste test. No point canning the butter if it is too bitter or sweet. If too bitter you can add more sugar and continue to simmer until dissolved, if too sweet you may need to add more lemon juice, plums or both. If adding more plums the cooking time will increase and you will have to run it through the food mill once again.
  10. Ladle plum butter into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top, slightly tapping jar to release any trapped air bubbles.
  11. Seal, process, and store filled jars, boiling plum butter in jars 10 minutes using water bath method.
  12. Let plum butter stand in jars at least 1 day before using so flavors can continue to develop.
Notes

I use the weight measurement as the size of plums and their corresponding weight can vary greatly. I use very small “Italian Prune” type plums and usually use about 16 – 24 plums to make the 4lbs, but each plum half is about the size of a tea spoon (not to be mistaken with teaspoon). If while taste testing the plums prior to cooking you find the plums are not as sweet as you hoped you can omit the lemon juice until later in the cooking process so you can taste test, but you will need the lemon juice to help stabilize the color so you may need to increase the sugar you add.
I have used a blender instead of the foodmill, but know that doing this will not separate out the skins, and you will see flecks of skin in your butter.

 

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