Monday, September 3, 2012

Mixed Fruit Butter

 It's that time of year. The fruit at the farmer's market and at the grocery store looks unbelievably good. I know I need lettuce or potatoes and the next thing you know there are plums or peaches or nectarines or cherries following me home.

It doesn't matter that I've already got peaches in the fridge. And then I eat the newer ones because they look better than plums that I bought four days ago.

Then what?

Slightly overripe fruit has plenty of uses. It's great for cooking and baking. And that overripe fruit tends to be sweeter as well as a little softer, which is a big bonus for some cooking applications.

I ended up making a mixed fruit butter using some ripe fruit and some that was a little overripe, and it needed absolutely no extra sugar.

I used grapes, peaches, plums, pluots, and cherries.

Now all you need is an English muffin. Or, if you must, go ahead and spread it on toast.

Mixed Fruit Butter

1 quart mixed fruit
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
Sugar, as needed

Wash the fruit and pit the fruit that is easy to pit. I pitted the big fruit - peaches, plums, and pluots, but I left the pits in the cherries.

Put the fruit in a saucepan along with the water and salt. Simmer slowly with the pot covered until the fruit is very soft. Stir as needed to keep it from sticking, and add water as needed to keep it from burning.

When the fruit is very soft, pass it though a food mill or fine strainer to get rid of the skin and any pits that you left behind. Continue cooking the strained fruit, stirring often, until it's very thick and is about 1/4 the original volume. Yup, I started with a quart of fruit and ended up with a cup of fruit butter.

Taste and add sugar, if needed and cook long enough to melt the sugar.. The fruit I had was sweet enough without any added sugar.

Let the fruit butter cool, transfer to a storage container, and refrigerate.