July 27, 2012

Cherry Butter...

This summer I've noticed a rise in food costs, but one item that seems to  have been on sale here often is cherries.  They don't necessarily grow well here, so I don't have access to trees.  I appreciate when they are affordable, plentiful and the quality is good.
The ones I've been getting have been very sweet, and besides eating them, they fit in well with my cherry butter recipe.
I've made several batches of this recipe so far this summer, and have enough for us to enjoy as well as gift to others when the holidays arrive (which will probably be sooner than I expect).
The thing I love about this recipe is the Pomona's Pectin.  Traditional pectin that you would buy from the store to make jams and jellies relies on the sugar added to make it gel.  This is why it is so important to not alter the recipes.  Pectin is found naturally in fruit, and it is possible to gel without using a product, but when I'm making big batches, I prefer a sure thing.
Pomona's Pectin has 2 pouches along with an instruction page.  One pouch contains the pectin and the other contains a calcium product that when combined with the pectin allows your fruit to gel and set.  This way, you can use as much sugar as you like, or you can use honey or other sweeteners as well.  You can also customize the size of your recipe for the amount of fruit that you have.
The recipe I've used in the past had called for 4 cups of cherries and over 2 cups of sugar, but I found that it was really unnecessary with the sweetness of the cherries that I was getting.

Cherry Butter
6 cups cherries, pitted and run thru a food mill.
2 cups sugar
6 tsp Pomona's calcium water (directions in box will tell how to concentrate and blend)
3 TBS butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
4-1/2 tsp Pomona's Pectin
3/4 cup lemon juice

1. Mix the cherry pulp and sugar and calcium water together. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Stir constantly while cooking to dissolve the sugar and keep from scorching.
2. Add the butter to settle the foam.
3. Add cinnamon and almond extract when all sugar is dissolved and stir well.
4. Combine the pectin with the lemon juice, (use quickly as it will solidify) and add it to the cherry mixture. Return to a boil stirring with a whisk vigorously for 3 minutes. Reduce heat.
5. Can as desired.  I processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

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