Tag Archives | September 2017

September Mastery Challenge Round-up: Fruit Butters

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September is over and so it’s time for our monthly Mastery Challenge accounting. This was a good month for the challenge, with 73 people reporting in that they cooked up a batch or two of fruit butter in order to meet the goals of the challenge.

The array of fruits used was nice and broad. Folks made butters out of apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, figs, muscadine grapes, nectarines, pawpaws, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, rhubarb, tomatoes, and zucchini. Those butters were flavored with aleppo pepper, bourbon, cardamom, chai, chipotle, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, lemon, rosewater, rum, and vanilla. And they were sweetened with brown sugar, cane sugar, honey, maple, and sorghum.

Going into the challenge, the feelings about fruit butters were scattered across the spectrum, with a number of folks feeling ok and then really positive about the style of preserve.

Happily, after completing the challenge, nearly everyone who participated feels pretty darn good about fruit butters. That always warms my heart. Sadly, I forgot to include a field for people to leave comments about this month’s challenge on the submission form (oops), so I don’t have any words of wisdom or excitement from participants to share. 🙁

Apple and Pears

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Cherries, Nectarines, Plums, and Peaches

Everything Else

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Fruit Butter for the September Food in Jars Mastery Challenge

It’s September and that means it’s time to explore another food preservation skill in the crazy journey we know as the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge. This month, we’re digging into fruit butters. For the purposes of this challenge, we’re including butters made from winter squash and sweet potatoes, provided that they are made for the fridge or freezer (since they are too dense to be canned). It can be sweetened in any which way you want and can even be made without additional sweeteners.

Remember that the goal of this challenge is to help you expand your skills while creating something that you’ll actually use. So choose an approach or recipe that will satisfy both your own learning and help you make something delicious.

What is a fruit butter?

A fruit butter is a product that is so named because it mimics the smooth spreadability of softened butter. It is made from a puree that is cooked low and slow for a number of hours, in order to evaporate the excess liquid, concentrate flavors and intensify the innate sweetness in the fruit. Thanks to this concentration, it typically contains a minimal amount of additional sweetener.

How do you make fruit butters?

The basics of making fruit butters are these. You puree some fruit. You cook it down slowly until thick. You add sweeteners, spices, and acid (to balance the flavors) to taste and preserve.

There are three standard approaches to making fruit butters.

  1. Slow Cooker – This is my favorite method for making fruit butters because it is relatively hands off, can be done outside of the kitchen (great for busy cooking days), and is produces the steady, low heat that fruit butters love. Just remember to prop the lid to allow for the steam to vent.
  2. Stove Top – When you’re in a hurry and you have the time to tend the cooking puree, small batches can be done on the stove top. Just keep stirring to prevent scorching.
  3. Oven – Another beloved technique. I often start with whole fruit when making fruit butters, roast them until soft, smash the fruit in the pan, and then continue to cook, stirring regularly. The best part of these oven roasted butters is that they develop a rich, caramelized flavor.

The Recipes

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September Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, Mason Jar Lifestyle, CanningCrafts, and Mrs. Wages

Welcome to September! It’s the start of the month and so it is time to thank the businesses that help make this site possible. Please do show them that you appreciation their support with your time and attention!  

And if your company, shop, or family business is interested in reaching the food-loving and engaged Food in Jars audience, you can find more details here. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

In the top spot are our friends at Cuppow. They are the creators of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. They’ve got their Glass Travel Mug back in stock and it’s the perfect way to tote your hot and cold drinks this fall!

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. As always, their blog is an amazing resource for all things jar-related. This post on drying herbs in the oven is perfect for end-of-season putting up!

Our friends over at EcoJarz are on board again this month. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, including cheese graterscoffee brewers, and stainless steel storage lids. AND, they’ve making their PopTop lids in new, fun colors!

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there. They sell all manner of mason jar accessories and adaptors. If you’re in the market for lids, straws, sprouting lids, and cozies to transform your mason jars into travel mugs, make sure to check them out. They’ve always got something new on offer, like these coffee and tea strainers that fit wide mouth jars.

Next up is CanningCrafts. Shop owner Alison sells an array of ready made and custom mason jar labels for all your various preserves, syrups, and backyard honey. I particularly love her line of labels encouraging people to return the jar! When next you need labels for a special project, check out CanningCrafts.

Our friends at Mrs. Wages are on the roster again this month. They make pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mix. If you need a little help getting your produce into jars, remember to seek out their products! They’re also sponsoring the giveaway this week, make sure to enter!

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