Today is a Delish writing day, so the canning adventure will continue tonight after Finn goes to bed! I need the break, actually. Just hooked up the caffeine drip and I’m about to delve into the Fall issue.
I promised the nectarine butter recipe, so here it is. (It’s based on an amalgamation of several other nectarine butter recipes around the internets, so feel free to google away and find some more suggestions!)
nectarines (I used about 35 to fill my large slow cooker. Make sure to get freestone nectarines, as these are the ones that let go of the pit easily and make short work of your prep. Also make sure they are nicely ripe. They should be as ripe as they’d be to eat them fresh. You can also save money and get less-than-perfect ones as you’ll be chopping them and can remove any blemishes.)
1. I favor this set-up: sink, cutting board, favorite knife, small bowl for pits, slow cooker crock for cut up nectarines, all on the counter.
2. Wash the nectarines – either in a colander or fill a clean sink with nectarines and water, and swish them around, rub them to get them clean.
3. Wipe off each nectarine as you pull it out to work with it. I had a very nice flow going where I’d not so much cut as place the large knife onto the nectarine, slide it in to the pit and then roll the nectarine the entire way around, then move over to do the next rolling cut halfway around from the first one. (I am sure I don’t need to tell you how to chop a nectarine, but if you’re dealing with 35 of them it might be nice to get a tip!) You don’t have to worry about chopping them up too finely or anything, as the slow cooker will do a lot of work for you and you’ll be blending later anyway. Discard the pit into your small bowl and throw your chopped nectarines right into the slow cooker, and continue until it’s filled up to within an inch of the top with chopped fruit.
4. Add your spices and sugar – for this batch I added 2 tbsp of ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 tsp powdered ginger, and 3 cups of brown sugar. Mix well.
5. Set the crock pot on low or medium heat. Put the cover on, but more than slightly askew. A tight fit will just stew these nectarines nicely, but we want steam to escape so that the mixture will reduce and thicken nicely. Some slow cookers will really get going and splatter a lot, but mine seems to contain itself nicely. 6. Leave it to cook for anywhere between 6 and 10 hours. That’s a large window but you’ll really need to see how this thickens up and reduces for you and decide when it’s ready. Some folks do the prep before bed and let it work through the night but I prefer to start first thing in the morning and let it simmer through the day so I can keep my eye on it and stir it occasionally.
7. When it’s about done (I know mine is done when there is still liquid in and around the chunks but it’s just covering it slightly or not at all, just in among the pieces and not covering over top. Sheesh that’s difficult to describe!), I like to stick my immersion blender in and carefully (it’s hot!) blend it up.
If you don’t have one, I’d push the concoction through a sieve rather than use a blender. Fruit butter should be nice and smooth. If it’s too thin, let it cook up some more with the lid off.
8. Now you’re free to can it! 15 minutes to process for pints…
I really like fruit butter recipes because not only is the finished product delicious, but they’re actually really hard to get wrong! There’s no pectin to worry about, no jam to set, no precise instructions or measurements. Throw some stuff in a pot, and go for it!
I made apple butter last year and will this year, as well as peach, pear and potentially tomato butter, as this recipe from Food in Jars intrigues me.
Come back this evening for Day 4 of the canning adventures!
Have decided to just get a crock pot of peaches going overnight for the same recipe as the nectarine butter. Wonder if that’s too much fruit butter, but I quite like them and they’ll also make good gifts. And I like the idea of using 35 peaches! I thought I had a lot of nectarines but I have 10lbs more of peaches than I had of those. Oy.
Here I go!
I decided to kick the peach butter up a notch, and I caaaaan’t waaaait til tomorrow morning to test it. Four words, people: fresh ginger & vanilla bean. YUM! Come back tomorrow, won’t you?
Reinforcements are coming!
Seized perhaps by maternal guilt, or love, or the wish to enjoy the madness with me, my mom is coming to help tomorrow!!
Live like you mean it,