Last summer, I made more batches of jam than I can count. I used more than fifty pounds of sugar and filled hundreds of jars (admittedly, I was doing this in part to have plenty to give away at my wedding). Even with all that giving away, I still had a whole lot of leftover jam to consume throughout the year.
Now I like jam as much as the next girl (or maybe even more), but that’s a whole lot of jam, particularly when I’m the only eater of sweet spreads in our household. Couple that with the fact that I’m trying not to eat tons of sugar (not that you’d pick up on that fact from reading this site), it means I move through my jam quite slowly. What’s a dedicated preserver to do?
Well, I can tell you what this canner’s going to do. She’s going to declare this the summer of fruit butters! Butters cook longer than jams do, meaning that they need less sugar for palatability and can achieve a spreadable texture through the evaporation of liquid. The reduction of sugar does mean that butters don’t last quite as long as jams (sugar is a preservative), but since they’ll have less sugar, I’ll feel better about eating them more regularly, making it possible for me to work my way through my stash at a speedier clip. I do believe everyone will win (and when I say everyone, I mean me).
For my first foray down this path, I offer this Orange Rhubarb Butter. It tangy, spreadable and so concentrated in flavor. It would be brilliant on scones or stirred into yogurt. I just have one word of warning for you. It cooks down significantly. I started with six cups of raw ingredients (rhubarb, orange juice and sugar) and ended up with a single pint of product. This is the one downside of making butter instead of jam. But it’s a trade-off I’m willing to make.
Recipe after the jump.
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- Combine the three ingredients in a wide pan (I used a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven) and bring to a simmer. Reduce the temperature to low and let it gently bubble, stirring every five minutes or so. If it’s sticking to the bottom of the pot badly, lower the heat a bit more. Cook like this for at least an hour, until butter has reduced in volume and has turned a deep, rosy color.
- Prepare one pint or two half pint jars. When butter is sufficiently cooked down, ladle it into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for fifteen minutes.
- When processing time has elapsed, remove jars from canner and place them on a towel-lined countertop. When jars have cooled enough to handle, remove the rings and test the seals by gently grasping the lids and lifting the jars. If the lids hold fast, your seals are good. If your jars do not seal, store product in refrigerator and consume within a month.
- Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to six months.