September 17, 2012

Nectarine Ruby Velvet Apricot Butter


Ingredients:
4 lb nectarines, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 lb Ruby Velvet Apricots (apriums), pitted and quartered
2 cups sugar
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tahitian vanilla bean

Ingredients:
Place all ingredients in a 4 quart slow cooker, stir. Turn on low and cook overnight (about 8-10 hrs) with the lid slightly askew to allow for some evaporation to occur. Uncover and cook on high 8 additional hours. The mixture should be thick and paste-like when ready.Fish out the vanilla bean and discard it. If the mixture isn't totally smooth, pulse it with an immersion blender. Prep your jars and lids. Pour the butter in the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.


Yield: about 4 8-oz jars

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here are some of my other favorite canning books and supplies.



My thoughts:
I had some suddenly very ripe nectarines that I had to do something with so I thought I'd try to make fruit butter instead of my usual jam. I also picked up a few pounds of what was labeled apricots so I thought I'd use some of them too but when I started cutting them up, I realized they weren't really apricots, they were apriums! They were small like an apricot, the skin was a fuzzy but the texture of the flesh was closer to that of a plum than an apriot. They were also reddish colored rather than well, apricot. I thought maybe it was just a variety of apricot I hadn't seen before but I am sure it is an aprium. After doing some legwork, I'm pretty sure it is a Ruby Velvet Apricot (actually an aprium despite the name), a relative of the Black Velvet Apricot I made jam with last year. Luckily, I love apriums! Less delicate than apricots but just as sweet and juicy.

It made a lovely fruit butter, perfect to spread on sandwiches, swirl into yogurt and pair with cheese. It is thicker and creamier than jam which I think makes it a bit more versatile.


Note: I put this butter up before I went to bed and canned it in the late afternoon. You of course can do it the opposite way but the chopping/set up was the perfect little project to do in the evening and who wants to can the second they wake up?

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