Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plum Butter (Page 921)

RECIPE #1026

  • Date: Saturday, September 12, 2009 -- 2pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Terry and Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

Today is my dad's birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!), so I made this plum butter last weekend to send to him as a birthday present. He is trying to reduce the high fructose corn syrup in his diet (a noble cause that I don't think I could adopt -- I love candy too, too much!). Early in his efforts to cut out high fructose corn syrup he noted that one place it appears very frequently is in jams and jellies. There are a few brands made with good old fashioned sugar, but most of the jams and jellies at the grocery store are full of high fructose corn syrup. So, I figured I would make him some plum preserves, sweetened the homemade way: with sugar!

First I started by digging out my many canning supplies. I go through phases when I can frequently and phases when I don't. As of late I have been in one of the latter phases. Once I dug out all my supplies I went through the process of sterilizing the jars and lids in my boiling water canner. Then I scraped the seeds from a vanilla bean into a large pot, then added the pod, pitted and sliced plums, sugar, and lemon juice. I boiled the mixture until the plums were tender. Then I removed the vanilla pod and forced the plum mixture through a food mill fitted with a fine disk. I will admit, I don't like using my food mill. I love that thing because the results it produces are so fantastic, but it's a pain to crank and inevitably whatever I am trying to put through it doesn't want to go through so it takes forever! So I was cranky (haha!) using the food mill, but the results were wonderful: fantastically smooth plum puree! I returned the puree to the stove and simmered it, stirring often, for two hours. Then I ladled the plum butter into the sterilized jars, sealed them, and processed them by boiling them for ten minutes in my boiling water canner.

The result: yum! There have been some jams/jellies from The Book that I haven't liked so much (Nectarine Preserves with Basil comes to mind) and they eventually ended up in the trash. After my special gentleman took one taste of this plum butter he said, "Well, this one won't get thrown away!" Indeed it will not. The preserves are rich with plum flavor, and the vanilla is an excellent complement. The texture is also perfect: smooth and thick. My only complaint is that the preserves are a little on the sweet side. This bothered me when I was eating this stuff by the spoonful on the day I made it, but actually on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich it doesn't seem so sweet. I don't dislike plums, but I also never seek them out. This recipe, though, gave me a whole new appreciation for the flavor of the fruit. Yum!

The recipe is here.

When I called my dad today to wish him a Happy Birthday he was making bread. I imagine this plum butter would go well with a nice hot piece of homemade bread! I hope he enjoys it. Happy Birthday Dad!

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