Tart, spicy, fragrant fruit butters are great winter treats that can be canned and shared as holiday gifts. Apples and winter pears are in season, so there are no better fruits for making dessert-quality spreads perfect for spreading on buttery toast, dipping with salty pretzels, or dolloping onto spice cookies. If you have your own apple and pear trees, even better! [Click here to learn how to grow your own winter pears!}
These butters are simple to make but require some patience. The key to their deliciousness is perfect caramelization and thickness, so be sure they are perfectly cooked before canning! As pre-preparation, be sure to have sterile canning jars on hand. Well-cooked spreads such as these are perfect for those just learning to can at home (canning instructions are below). Place a pretty label on the jar, top it with a bow, and bring a few jars to your next holiday party!
Caramel Apple Butter
Tart apples are rounded by the milky sweetness of caramel. Sweet/tart sauce apples like ‘Gravenstein’, ‘Jonathan’, ‘Cortland’ and ‘McIntosh’ make excellent butter. A touch of salt is crucial for flavor. Can this yummy spread for holiday gift giving or personal enjoyment. It’s decadent stuff!
- 3 lbs. apples (about 9 medium apples) – peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cups light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 15 caramels
- Add the apples and ½ cup of water to a large, sturdy sauce pan. Cover and simmer until the apples are soft but intact (15–20 minutes).
- Allow the apples to cool, and then strain them in a colander to remove any excess liquid.
- Transfer the apples into a food processor and puree them until smooth.
- Place the apple puree back in the pot and set the stove to medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low if it starts to bubble.
- Add the sugar, caramels, and salt, then simmer, stirring occasionally.
- After 3–4 hours the butter should be thick and caramel-colored.
- Use the dab test to check if the butter is ready. Dab a bit onto a plate; if no residual liquid oozes from the edge, and the butter remains mounded, it’s ready.
- Add the spices and stir. Keep the butter on low heat until you’re ready to can it.
This recipe makes around four 4-oz. jars of butter that can be canned or stored in airtight containers for freezing or refrigeration.
Pear Fig Honey Butter
This decadent fruit butter tastes great on morning toast or dolloped between crisp butter cookies.
- 9 soft Bosc or Comice pears – peeled, cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup raw, wildflower honey
- 1 cup chopped dried figs
- the juice of one lemon
- Pinch of salt to taste
- Puree pears and figs in a food processor until smooth.
- Place the puree in a sturdy, large pot and set the stove to medium-low heat. (Reduce to low if it starts to bubble).
- Add the honey and salt, and mix until blended.
- Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the butter becomes reduced by half. This should take around 2-3 hours (sometimes more).
- The finished butter should be fully caramelized, thickened and ready to can.
This recipe makes around four 4-oz. jars of butter. Enjoy!
Canning Pot with Jar Rack
Four 4-oz or two 8-oz jars for canning
Canning Jar Lifter
Canning Lids and Screw Bands (new)
Labels and Permanent Marker
Wide-mouthed Jar Funnel
- Wash your hands and work space before starting.
- Sterilize jars by filling a large pot with water to a depth that will cover them. Submerge the jars, screw bands, and lids into the hot water. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the hot jars with clean tongs while gently pouring the hot water out before removal. Place the jars upside down on a clean towel. Only touch the jar exteriors (Keep the canning pot with hot lids simmering.)
- Using a clean ladle and wide-mouthed funnel, fill the jars with hot, prepared fruit butter. Fill until there is an inch of head space at the top of the jar. Wipe messy jar rims with a clean cloth.
- Remove the sterilized lids and screw bands from the hot water and place them on the jars–being sure not to touch the inner lids. Make sure the lids are firmly down and screw bands lightly tightened. Manufacturer’s instructions may vary so follow those on the box.
- Place the jars on the jar rack and lower them into the pot of hot canning water, if you have no rack lower the jars in with a canning jar lifter being sure to keep jars from touching. Cover the canning pot and keep at a low boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the pot and place them on towels to cool. Fully tighten the screw bands. Once cool, dry the outsides thoroughly and apply labels. Include the butter type and date.
- After jars have set for 12 hours, check for success. If the lids are tight, air free and cannot be pressed down, they’re fine. If they pop down, they are improperly sealed, but don’t throw them away. You can either put them in the refrigerator for immediate use or try to re-cap them using steps 4 through 6. As a general rule, canned food is best used in the first year. Store your butters in a cool dry place.