Old-fashioned plum butter

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgIsis and Physioprof aren't the only ones who can cook, you know. I don't get to cook on a regular basis, but every couple of weeks there's some piece of produce just begging to be cooked into deliciousness. This past week, it was a batch of organic Italian plums that came with our produce delivery (my one indulgence).

I wasn't quite sure what to do with so many plums, so I consulted my shelf of cookbooks and decided upon a recipe from a 1950's book on freezing and canning for farm wives. I updated the techniques and downgraded the quantities a bit, and methods and results are below the fold. The conclusion however, has not changed since the 1950s. Plum butter is divine on vanilla ice cream.

Step 1. Cut plums in half, cover with water and boil until skins are tender.
Plum Butter 1st step
Step 2 (1950s version): Pour plums into strainer, catching liquid, and work plums thoroughly through strainer to create a puree.
Step 2 (2008 version): Start with 1950s version, get impatient. Pull skins off plums, being careful not burn hands. Add remaining pulp to food processor and puree.

Step 3: Add plum puree (and associated liquid) back to pan and boil. Add sugar in appropriate amount. The recipe called for 3 3/4 quarts of uncooked plums = 2 3/4 cups sugar. I started with just over a quart of plums and added just under a cup of sugar. As soon as you add sugar, you must make sure to stir constantly. Watch for splattering hot liquid.
Plum Butter Making

Step 4. Keep boiling and stirring until your plums+sugar reaches a jelly like conistency. Congratulations, you've got plum butter. Can, freeze, or otherwise store as appropriate for the amount you made.
Plum Butter

Step 5. Eat with ice cream, on toast, (or by the spoonful).

More like this

Having posted what I'm making for Thanksgiving, I am happy to accede to your requests for the recipes. Of course, I encourage you to violate the recipes at well (since that's how I was taught to cook). I'm posting these in two batches, so if you don't see the recipe you were looking for here, it…
Here are the rest of the recipes for dishes that I'm making for Thanksgiving this year (with the exception of pumpkin pie -- I'm still shopping for a pumpkin pie recipe). I'll mention here (and should have mentioned in the previous post that all the measurements here are U.S. quantities (cups,…
The wet weather in these parts led to an almost (but not quite) predictable cancellation of soccer games on the weekend that we were supposed to provide snacks. This means I ended up staring at a surplus of navel oranges and thinking, "What am I going to do with these?" Marmalade presented itself…
I don't have a lemon tree in the backyard, and springtime has only just reached the frigid northlands, but I do have a bit of Seattle summer tucked away in the back of my freezer. Pick some slightly underripe blackberries for this one, so it's as tart as a good lemon meringue. Ingredients For the…

Sciencewoman, are you trying to get in on the schtick? If so, I may need to being treating you with the same disdain I treat PhysioProf.

But this looks delicious.

This time of year, it's also easy to throw in some green apples or crab apples for pectin, so it will set up as a proper jam without so much boiling.

Italian plum trees are all over my neighborhood, so I've now got several batches of plum butter/jam/sauce in the freezer. If your plums are a bit underripe/sour, and you don't add much sugar, it makes a great condiment - you can mix it with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and it works more or less like ketchup, except that it's exotic and impressive.

Yum, that looks delicious. My dad had a plum tree in our yard that was his pride and joy, but we just ate them directly from the tree. You'd better lay in a supply of ice cream... :-)