Another fruit butter worth getting to know (besides the ever-popular apple variety): Plum Butter. With the sweet and slightly tangy plum flavor and a few spices to top it off, you will have yourself a tasty spread!
About a week or so ago, I found myself with a huge, huge bowl of plums. My mother-in-law said she had them on her tree, but had never really used them much, and would I like some? Well, of course! Who can turn down fresh anything, right? But, then I just wasn’t in the mood to straight up eat them, and I just wasn’t getting any inspiration of what to make with them.
Ben and I started doing some searching. Tarts, galettes, they all sounded good, but just not what I was in the mood for. And then it hit us: Plum Butter. We had just make a big batch of apple butter the week before and had been enjoying it on pretty much everything, so this seemed like a great compliment. I searched around on the web and to my dismay was only finding plum butter recipes that required a lot of attention over the stove top. I’ve heard too many complaints with fruit butters and how easy it is to burn them if dealing with stove top cooking so I didn’t even want to go there, nor had the time. I figured since I’d done some apple butter in the crock pot and that turned out great, I could have equally good results with plum.
It was getting kind of late at night, and I didn’t want to postpone this until the next day, so I figured I’d go with a low setting and see where things went from there. The plums seemed so juicy so I really wasn’t sure if I needed the extra water, but I thought, well, better safe than sorry, and that I could always let it cook a little longer if I needed it to thicken up.
Man, did this turn out well! I literally cleaned the plums, halved them, pulled out their pits, threw into the crock pot (skins on), and then worked on my night routine to wrap some work up before getting to bed while stirring a couple of times intermittently. Then off to sleep I went. And when I woke up, a fabulous aroma of plum filled the air! I hesitated about when to add the sugar and spices, but I figured with spices already ground, just adding right at the end would help everything stay nice and potent.
You may be past your bumper crop already, but if you do happen to have plums still hanging around, this is a great use! (I almost stole some off of someone’s tree the other day because I just sawing them go to waste. Feel free to do the same!) And if not, calendar it for next year. Planning ahead!
Overnight Crockpot Plum Butter
- 3 and 1/2 to 4 pounds 4 plums, skins left on washed, sliced in half, and pitted
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water may not need - see notes
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Place plums in crockpot with a little water.
Simmer on low heat for about 1 to 2 hours, stirring about every 30 minutes to encourage the plums to break up.
Once plums have broken up well, give mixture one last good stir to make sure it is evenly distributed in the crockpot.
Cook overnight (about 8 to 10 hours) on low heat (no need to stir during this time).
Stir mixture again. Add brown sugar and spices.
Pour mixture into blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth.
If desired, add a little more water to thin to your desired consistency, and blend in well. The best way I can describe the consistency is a velvety spread that spreads quite easily, but is not at all runny.
Pour into quart-sized jars and enjoy over bread, meat, dumplings.....you name it!
Water ratio - I have had plums where I needed to add more water at the end, and some where I literally was trying to steam off every bit of liquid there was on there because they were so juicy! So, this varies a ton. My rule of thumb is put in just enough water to start so that you are not worried of scorching skins during the initial breakdown process. And then just go from there. If it seems like there is too much liquid, I just remove the lid a few times during cooking, let some steam escape, and pour off all of the condensation that's on the lid.
Lazy upfront style - I have totally done this before without initially removing any of the pits or halving the plums. Literally just threw all the plums in the crock pot with the spices. And guess what? It worked! I mean obviously, still remove the pits from the broken-down plums before blending. I'm not sure which method I prefer. Depends if I want more work initially or at the end.
CANNING! A lot of people have asked about this. Please refer to the comments for advice. I myself am not much of a canner, and have canned this once, but not enough that I feel adequate to provide detailed instructions yet. To maintain vibrancy and flavor, adding a little bit of lemon is good (although not sure if necessary). A standard 10 minute water bath should do it for processing. However, once again, read the comments and do a little more research. Once I have had the chance to can this a few more times and am 100% sure on the process, I will update the recipe.
Dress it Down:
To keep it simple, leave out the spices to enjoy pure plum bliss!
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