When Life Gives You Plums . . . Make Plum Apple Butter
This is truly about the easiest jam to make. A bit of cooking softens the apples. A bit of spice enlivens the flavor. A quick purée before you cook the plums. Another purée and you have plum-near-to-perfect Plum Apple Butter. The plum-apple combination was inspired by a gift bag of deep-blue skinned plums and another of local apples.
And now there’s even more Plum Apple Butter in my future. Just yesterday while beginning to write this post, I received an email from another friend. She had a BIG crop of plums this year and wondered if she could bring us a bagful. Yes!
Apples complement Plums
Naturally sweet and fragrant apples make the perfect complement to tart-skinned, deeply flavored plums. With apples and plums ripening at the same time, Plum Apple Butter is a delicious and gorgeously colored, sweet-tart condiment to make when you have an abundance of both.
Little preparation required
Leave the skin on the apples. Just quarter them and remove the core with one cut of a knife. For the best plum flavor and color, leave the skin on the plums as well. Removing it will make the plums sweeter, but less plum like.
- Use a knife to cut around the plum from the stem end and back again.
- Twist the two halves to release one half from the pit.
- Use a thumbnail, the tip of a vegetable peeler or a spoon to remove the pit from the other half.
Where’s the butter?
Other than a great way to make use of lots of fruit, just what is fruit butter? Its name comes not from being made with butter, but rather because both its smoothness and spreadability are similar to softened butter.
There are many books in print and sources on the internet with detailed information on the simple process for canning jams, jellies and fruit butters. Check this page for some clear introductory videos. Consider borrowing a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving from your local library. Or buy your own copy for everything you may ever need to know about canning in general, and canning jams, jellies and fruit butters in particular.
Plum Apple Butter
This easy recipe was inspired by the gift of a bag of local plums and apples. Using these amounts of plums and apples, no additional sweetener was necessary. However, this recipe is forgiving. Adjust it to accommodate the amount of plums and apples you have. If after cooking the plums your Plum Apple Butter is looser than you want it, just cook it down over low heat until it’s plum perfect. Add a tablespoon or more honey to taste if you prefer it sweeter.
Makes 8 cups Printer-Friendly Recipe
Total Time: about 75 minutes
13 cups cored,1-1 ½-inch diced apples (about 3 pounds)
¾ cup (6 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 ½ cups halved and pitted plums (about 2 pounds)
Optional: a tablespoon or two of honey to taste
- Combine the diced apples, apple concentrate and water in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Cover the pot and cook about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Either use an immersion blender directly in the pot to purée the apples, or transfer them to a food processor and blend until the skin disintegrates.
- Add the halved and pitted plums to the apple mixture. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for another 15 minutes until the plums break down, stirring more frequently as the mixture thickens. Once again use an immersion blender or a food processor to purée the mixture.
- Check the consistency of the Plum Apple Butter. If it’s too loose, continue cooking on low heat. Or if it is just right, taste. Depending on the tartness of your plums, you might want to add a tablespoon or more of honey until its plum-near-to perfect.