Cherry Butter

Cherry Butter

I can’t believe summer is almost over…and I have just begun to post all of the wonderful things I made.  Unfortunately this was one of the busiest summers I have had as long as I can remember.  That doesn’t mean that I stopped cooking or baking, but I definitely was not able to keep up on my postings.  So, hang with me…the next few posts will be very focused on summer produce as I catch myself up.

This year we had another killer cherry season.  We had more cherries on our tree than I have ever experienced.  And the odd thing was, the birds were a little late to the party.  We were actually able to pick about 5 pounds worth before the birds got to them.  We also had some other fun visitors this year – the rats.  I think there was just one, and boy was he happy.  I think our neighbors finally had their fill though and I haven’t seen the rat for a while.

So this year I wanted to make jam with them – but that was before I found this Cherry Butter recipe in the Food in Jars cookbook.  Once I saw this, I looked no further.  I just loved the idea of making butter out of these amazing cherries, and as you can see, it was very much like jam consistency, without the pectin.  I can’t tell you the pride I had when I had jars of this cherry butter on the counter.  It is not often that I am able to can my own produce – normally it is from the farmer’s market.  I was beaming.

So even though cherry season may be over where you live – I leave you with this fantastic recipe for next year.  And if you want to come by my house and pick your own…feel free.  There should be plenty, if this year is any indication.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups pitted and chopped sweet cherries (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Preparation

Combine the cherries and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a large pot and bring to a summer.  Reduce the heat to low and let it gently bubble, stirring every 5 minutes or so.  If it’s sticking to the bottom, lower the heat a bit more.  Cook like this to at least an hour, until the butter has reduced in volume and it has taken on a deep wine color.

Using an immersion blender (or working in batches in a blender), carefully puree the fruit.  Taste and add the remaining sugar if you feel it needs it.  Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.  If it doesn’t seem at all watery and the texture seems sufficiently  thick, the butter is done.  If not, continue to cook until the butter is thick and spreadable, keeping in mind that it will thicken a bit more as it cools.

When the butter is nearing completion, fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.

When it has reached a consistency that is thick and spreadable, ladle the butter into the prepared jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 15 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months

Makes 2 pints (yield varies depending on width of pot, cooking length and juiciness of fruit).

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Cherry Butter

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