June 29, 2018

Overnight Cherry Butter




Ingredients:

6 lbs cherries, pitted
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar


Place all ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker, pressing down to crush the cherries enough to be able to close the lid, if needed. Cook on high 2 hours. Mash with a potato masher.



Continue to cook on low, with the lid slightly ajar, overnight or until it has reduced by half. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. I then whisked it through a sieve to make it extra smooth but that is optional.

Ladle the butter into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. I used my electric canner which takes the same amount of time as processing on the stove but without heating up the house. If you don't want to can, just refrigerate it and use it within 2-3 weeks.

Yield: about 2 pints

My thoughts:
I've always thought it was cruel that canning season and summer coincide. I mean, it obviously makes sense, you are preserving the harvest but why does it have to be so hot? We don't have central air conditioning, only one room unit for the first floor, and it gets hot!

Luckily, I have the advantage of modern technology. As it turns out, it is easy to make fruit butter in my slow cooker and then use my electric canner to can it without heating up the house. Of course, you can do both (using this same recipe) on the stove top and the traditional canning pot as well.

Northwest Cherry Growers contacted me about being a canbassader again this year and I had a minute of panic when I realized I was called for jury duty and had to go out of town for a wedding directly after the cherries were to arrive. To make things easier for me, I pitted the cherries (use a pitter, save yourself) while watching tv and made this cherry butter slow cooker butter vs a more complicated, hands-on recipe while pitting even more cherries. The flavor is still there but the hands-on time is seriously diminished, a major plus when it comes to cherries which are one of the more labor-intensive fruits to prep and can. The balsamic seems odd but it deepens the flavor and keeps the butter from being overwhelmingly sweet. It also helps the acidity so it is safe to can.

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