Fruit butter is made by cooking down the fruit mixture until thick and sticky instead of adding pectin to set the mixture as you do with jam. Spread on whole-grain toast or stir into plain yogurt. Butters are supposed to be smooth and well, buttery, so we prefer to peel stone fruit, such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, and apples and pears. If you’re making a butter with “seedy” berries, such as blackberries, raspberries or even blueberries, you can puree the butter and pass it through a sieve for the smoothest result. Try the combination of blueberries with lime juice and zest or plums with orange juice and zest.
- Combine fruit, water and sugar to taste in a Dutch oven; add citrus zest and juice if using. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, mashing the fruit and stirring occasionally at first and then often as it thickens, until the mixture is very thick, 20 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the type of fruit). To test doneness, put a spoonful of fruit butter on a plate. If no liquid seeps from the edges, it’s done. Return to a simmer to thicken more if necessary. For very smooth fruit butter, puree in a food processor or blender, then strain and push the mixture through a sieve before storing.
- If freezing or refrigerating, ladle the fruit butter into clean canning jars to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Wipe rims clean. Cover with lids. Let the jars stand at room temperature until cool before refrigerating or freezing. Or process in a water bath to store at room temperature (see Tip).