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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crockpot Cinnamon-Vanilla Plum Butter

I'm not used to being in surplus of a lot of things. Certainly not produce. I used to overpay for about five or six pieces of fruit at a time at the corner stand. But now here I am visiting a friend after work and coming home with bushels of apples and crates of grapes and a bucket of plums. 

I've been taking my time eating everything. Making a dip for the apples with melted chocolate chips and granola crumbles, juicing the grapes with a steam pasteurizer,  whipping up apple cake and berry cobblers. But those plums get mushy and start attracting those tiny fruit flies fast, so I needed something that used all 5+ pounds at once. I needed to make a plum butter.

But I didn't want to mess with it! The canning part would be time-consuming enough. The rest had to be easy.

I researched a few recipes before I combined the best of them and freestyled in the crockpot. Here's what I came up with.

I filled the crockpot up with the best looking plums and tossed the mushy ones. The bees got into some of those. Or so I was told.

The plums were washed and pitted. I mixed in about 2.5 cups of sugar, set the crock pot on low, and let it cook for about 24 hours.

The juice starts to fill up the pot after the first hour or so. The goal is to thicken that stuff up. Keep checking on it and stirring it when you get a chance. For the last 8 hours or so, I left the lid open a little bit to let evaporation help out.

For the last hour, I bumped the heat up to high and took the lid off entirely. That gave me enough time to boil all the jars to sterilize them properly.

Before I canned them, I added a few dashes of cinnamon and a good splash of vanilla extract. Next time I would add a whole cinnamon stick and a whole vanilla bean for that last power hour. It would be hard to overspice this stuff. I mean, if you think about it, it's only like a tiny dash of cinnamon per plum. It smells warm and spicy and just like October.

Then I filled the sterilized Mason jars with the sticky jammy stuff, boiled them another ten minutes, and set them out to seal.

And that's it! My favorite crostini so far is a toasted slice of sourdough with butter, plum butter and a swirl of honey on top. It needs a dollop of ricotta and it will be autumn umami.

Plum Butter

- A crockpot full of washed and pitted plums
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- ~2 TBS vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
- ~2 TBS cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)

Turn crockpot on low for about 16 hours. Prop open the top and leave on low another 8 hours. Crack up to high and take the top off entirely while you sterilize the Mason jars. Add a good drop of vanilla extract and a few shakes of cinnamon, or if you can, add a whole vanille bean and cinnamon stick. Fill each jar to the top, seal, and boil for ten minutes. Set out and listen for that sweet popping sound. Store in the fridge once opened.

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