Plum Butter

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Larry and I are still kayaking and hiking in Alaska, so here is a simple plum butter I made for the first time two summers ago and think it is worth re-posting.

Growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, I ate lots of apple butter, enjoying its spicy rich flavor. This summer I’ve been having fun using seasonal fruit to make jam and chutney. Plums are at their best now, so I decided to try a  plum butter.

Epicurious provided a skeleton recipe, then I added ingredients and adjusted cooking times to ensure success.

If you are new to canning, this recipe is perfect for your debut. Pick up a book on canning basics, such as the Ball Blue Book of Preserves. To learn about or review safe canning procedures, visit the Ball Canning Site. Your local grocery or hardware store will sell cases of jars that include lids, screw tops and labels.

For me, canning is a satisfying and comforting experience, reminding me of summers past when women in my family would “put up” their jams, chutneys, tomatoes and pickles.

Yields about 3 pints

  • 4 pounds ripe plums, any color
  • 3 cups organic cane or white sugar
  • zest and juice of one Meyer lemon (or any lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)

1. Freeze two small plates or saucers for testing later.

2. Pit and cut plums into eighths. Set aside.

3. Zest and juice the lemon. Add to plums.

4. In a large Dutch oven (heavy-bottomed pot), add the chopped plums and all other ingredients except for the Grand Marnier. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until fruit is very tender, about 15 minutes.

5. Discard the vanilla bean. Using a food processor, purée batches of the butter, taking care not to over-process. Return puréed butter to Dutch oven.

6. Cook butter over low heat for about two hours, stirring frequently to prevent butter from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

7. Test for “doneness” by using one of the saucers. Spoon a little butter on it and tilt the plate. Butter should do a slow slide rather than a quick run off.

8. Turn off the heat, move pot to a cool burner. Stir in the Grand Marnier.

9. Funnel into sterile jars and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes, using safe canning procedures.

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14 Responses to Plum Butter

  1. soniawood October 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    I used this as a base for Asian sauce for my edamame last night – it was fantastic.

  2. lizthechef October 16, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    Great, a most original use of this all-purpose, pretty fool-proof recipe – come visit again. Thanks, Liz

  3. Elizabeth August 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    This is just great tasting jam. What a treat. Now I am glad to know that it is easy to make.

  4. The Wimpy Vegetarian August 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    How’s Alaska??? How’s the weather?? I love your plum butter, thanks of the reminder of it. I’ve got some plums right here….

    • Liz August 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Just home and homesick for the humpbacks and Alaska – post coming – a magical vacation.

  5. Lynda - TasteFood August 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    This sounds wonderful and a great way to use our plums.

  6. Jayne August 5, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    I seem to remember making this last Autumn, minus the ginger as my husband is not a fan, it was delicious. I was sure Id commented to tell you that, apologies for not doing so! Lucky for me that you re-posted! Cant wait to hear about Alaska!

    • Liz August 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

      I know you love Florida and you would have frozen in Alaska, but it was a once in a lifetime journey – all the wildlife and sea animals danced before us for 8 days as the salmon began their run.

  7. Jen August 6, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Wow, this looks delicious, especially with the addition of cinnamon. That would give this some nice depth! Thanks for sharing, adding this to my list.

    • Liz August 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      Play with the spices – part of the fun of this easy recipe.

  8. Aisha August 11, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    Hi
    I just made I last nite! It’s delicious. I was wondering, should it be runny or firm? I canned it last nite at 9 and 12 hours later when I tilted a jar, it’s not solid. Will it get more firm? Should it be? I cooked it on the stove for two hours on low and did the plate test. When I washed the pot, it was jelled in there, around the sides, like jam. With the plate test, it again looked like jam where it blobbed and moved slowly. Did I do it wrong? Thanks to anyone who’s tried this. I am not a confident plate tester!

    • Liz August 11, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      I think you did a great job – should be somewhere in the middle of runny and firm, like apple butter.

  9. kellypea September 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    I just bought a bunch of Italian prune plums wanting to make some easy jam. I’m not sure if I even qualify as a “beginning” canner. But this recipe really sounds great!

    • Liz September 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      I’d love to try the recipe with those Italian prune plums – hope you enjoy it!

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