Mixed Fruit Slow Cooker Butter

mixed fruit butter

About a week and a half ago, I found myself in something of a fruit predicament. There were peaches and nectarines* from the folks at Sweet Preservation that needed to be used. I had pre-chopped plums and pears leftover from a wacky little freelance project. And two bruised apples.

Not having the mental fortitude to devise a fancypants jam or two to take care of that fruit, I did what I often do in a pinch. I chopped it all up and threw it in the slow cooker (I did take the time to peel the peaches and apples. Happily, the peaches were so ripe that their skins just slid right off). Lazy preservation at its best.

I have talked at length about my slow cooker butters in the past so I won’t rehash the minutia here, I’ll just hit the high points. I filled a five quart cooker with chopped fruit. I cooked it with the lid on for a couple of hours to soften the fruit and then pureed it with an immersion blender. Then it was my standard lid-propped-on-the-spoon and cooking it overnight game.

The next morning, the butter was done. After a quick taste, I doctored it with some maple syrup and 1/4 cup of Stevia in the Raw** and called it done. Packed into pints and processed for 15 minutes, I think my fruit butter work may well be done for this year.

Let’s talk about the stevia for just a moment. From what I understand, it’s a naturally occurring non-sugar sweetener that is derived from an herb. Stevia in the Raw has been processed and granulated to make it easier to cook with.

What I’ve found in working with it is that while it works as a sweetener, it can have something of a bitter taste unless paired with sugar, honey or some other conventional sweetener. Thus the tandem addition of stevia and maple syrup to my butter. It works particularly well in fruit butters because they are not products that needs sugar in order to achieve a set. I’m going to keep working with it and will be reporting back more as I integrate it into future preserves.

*The bulk of the nectarines went into this pickled nectarine project I did for Serious Eats last week.

**I received a free package of Stevia in the Raw from the company to try it out. As always, opinions are all my own.

 

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20 Responses to Mixed Fruit Slow Cooker Butter

  1. 1

    I love combining the last of fruit into one butter or jam. Last year I made raspberry strawberry jam and it was the best thing I canned.

  2. 2

    I love canning with my crockpots. It’s so much easier than standing over the hot stove. I have a couple of 7 qt. crockpots I put to work this summer making 30 pints of peach butter, along with peach chocolate sauce and roasted red pepper spread. Now I just have to get to the 30 lbs of tart cherries in the freezer…

    -the redhead-

    • 2.1
      Deana says:

      I am making Peach Butter now in my crock pot and it seems to be taking forever to thicken. The lid has been off of the crockpot, after 12 hours I finally turned it up on high to get this process completed. What in the world…did I do something wrong. Everything that I have read has been 12 hours or less. Could you give me some insight?

      • Deana –

        I always start my fruit butters in the crockpot on high for the first couple of hours, with frequent stirring. Then I turn them down to medium overnight, and they are usually ready to do in the morning. Rather than leaving the lid propped on knives, I just cover the counter with newspaper and leave the lid off.

        Hope this helps.

        -the redhead-

  3. 3
    Kristen says:

    Where do you get your colored lids for your jars? I love them!

  4. 4
    SewLindaAnn says:

    Perfect post for this morning. I was just looking at a bowl of leftover fruit from a basket received and the apples are turning as well as the peaches.

  5. 5
    Anna says:

    If fruit butters don’t need sugar to set, do they need sugar to be safely canned?

    • 5.1
      Myrnie says:

      My question goes along with Anna’s :) I’ve always made apple butter by cooking apples down in the crockpot till it’s thick thick, and maybe adding a little cinnamon. I pack it into pint jars and process in a water canner (I think about 20 minutes, whatever the Ball book says.) After reading last Fall that pumpkin butter is unsafe to can because it’s too thick, I’m wondering about my apple butter. How thick is too thick for a butter? Is sugar required? Thank you!!!

      • marisa says:

        Sugar has nothing to do with safety. It helps with thickening and it is a preservative. Unsweetened products are perfect safe to can provided they have enough acid. Apple butter, as well as butters made from yellow peaches, plums and pears, have enough acid to make them an unfriendly environment for botulism. Yes, they are thick, but the thickness doesn’t become as much of an issue when you’re dealing with high acid foods.

        The reason pumpkin butter is a no-go is that it is both low acid and incredibly thick. Because there’s not enough acid to inhibit the growth of botulism, you would need to pressure can pumpkin butter to ensure that all botulism spores are killed. However, because it’s such a thick product, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that the heat will penetrate to the center of the jar and kill all the botulism spores. Because there’s no way to absolutely guarantee safety, there’s no recommended way to preserve pumpkin butter.

        • Heather Little says:

          Well ok but here is another question: what could you add to make it safe? Would adding citrus or some other acidic fruit make it safe to can?

        • Myrnie says:

          Thanks :) I was worried I had to stop my yearly apple butter! That makes total sense.

          • Leslie March says:

            Marisa,
            Your fruit butter looks good enough to eat it off the page. Have you ever tried doing it in the the microwave? Years ago I bought a cookbook called Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka that has a recipe for Apple Butter that only takes about 30 minutes. I have also used over ripe apricots with spices like cumin. cinnamon, cardamon, chili powder to make a great addition to pork or lamb and cooked them down with little stirring in the microwave.

            • marisa says:

              I have that cookbook, but I’ve not tried any of the recipes from it. I’m just not a huge fan of cooking in the microwave. I know it works, but it’s just not my favorite way to do things.

  6. 6

    Hi Marisa,
    What a great site!!! And what an awesome article! I’ve been looking into canning for the last couple of years, reason being because of the economic problems that are plaguing us these days, and also because of the price of food going up. But know that I’ve found your site, I’ll make sure to spread the word!!!
    P.S.
    I’ve already bookmarked your post.

  7. 7
    Ashley says:

    Sound great, I’m faily new to canning game and am completly addicted to the fun!
    On a stevia note, I’ve used and grown it for years. I do buy processed stevia for some baking the key with it is you cant use too much or you get that bitter aftertaste.

  8. 8
    Laurie says:

    I was about to make slow cooker Peach butter AND can pears today, so I’m thankful to be inspired to mix the two. How much sugar do you use for a crock-pot full, and approximately how much spice? Thank you for sharing on this great site and the tips!

  9. 9

    [...] at the last minute, I also threw these Danish into my carry-on). It was to use up the open jar of mixed fruit butter that was in its last days. And it was finally try the fruit butter granola trick that Kaela used [...]

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  1. Preserves in Action: Five-Ingredient Fruit Butter Granola | Food in Jars - October 28, 2011

    [...] at the last minute, I also threw these Danish into my carry-on). It was to use up the open jar of mixed fruit butter that was in its last days. And it was finally try the fruit butter granola trick that Kaela used [...]

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