Fond of fall fruits like apples, pears, crabapples, quince and pumpkins? Fruit is high in fiber, antioxidants, loaded with vitamins, folic acid and other healthy nutrients. Want a healthy, lower calorie alternative than using them in pies, tarts, cakes and other desserts? If last Saturday’s trip to the apple orchard yielded about a dozen more bushels than you actually needed, it’s easy to get carried away. But traditional, high sugar and high fat treats are not the only way to showcase these juicy gems of autumn.
Try Fruit Butter Recipes!
Fruit butter recipes contain less sugar than most desserts, and also less than jams, jellies and preserves. And while the name “butter” implies fat, fruit butters contain no butter at all and in fact are named for their smooth body and consistency, similar to pudding. Generally fat-free, they are delicious stirred into plain yogurt or hot cereal, or spread on rolls, scones, waffles, muffins, or toast (depending on your diet plans) and may be used in place of butter in many recipes.
Slowly cooking fruit down until the texture is dense instead of adding pectin to thicken, flavor becomes concentrated and sweet without the addition of excessive sweeteners. Typically prepared on the stove top, fruit butters also yield good results in a slow cooker, oven or even an occasional microwave. Using one kind of fruit, or experimenting with combinations like apple and rhubarb or pumpkin and pear, allow you to create special spreads that will surprise family and friends. Properly jarred, they can keep in the refrigerator for several weeks or frozen for up to a year. Fruit butter recipes also do well in the canning process, lasting several years as a result (think: a ready supply of homemade birthday and holiday gifts available right from your pantry shelf).
Try these fruit butter recipes for a delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner or holiday treat.
Apple Butter Recipe
- 4 pounds Granny Smith or Macintosh apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apple cider
- brown sugar to taste
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
Directions: Cook apples in the liquid until soft. Pass through a food mill or push through a fine mesh strainer and note how many cups you are getting. You do this so you can determine how much sugar you may/may not need. Add up to 1/2 cup brown sugar for each cup of puree – usually less.
Add spices, rind, and lemon juice and cook over very low heat until thick and dark brown. This may take 3 to 4 hours. If not to be used within a week or two, make sure to can or freeze.
Pumpkin Butter Recipe
- 1 pound pie pumpkin, peeled and cubed or 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pie mix)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 to 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
Directions: Place pumpkin and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the pumpkin has broken down. Strain through a strainer or food mill. If using canned pumpkin, omit this step and pick up below.
Combine pumpkin puree with sugar and spices, and choose one of the following cooking methods:
- Slow Cooker: Place sweetened pulp in a slow cooker with lid partially off to let steam escape. Set at low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-12 hours or overnight, or until thick enough so the butter doesn’t run off a spoon when turned upside down.
- Microwave: Place sweetened pulp in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 20 minutes at a time, stirring frequently until thick enough so the butter doesn’t run off a spoon when turned upside down.
- Stovetop: Place sweetened pulp in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 1-2 hours or until thick enough so the butter doesn’t run off a spoon when turned upside down.
- Oven: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place sweetened pulp in a heatproof casserole dish or roaster. Bake, stirring only occasionally, for 1-3 hours or until thick enough so the butter doesn’t run off a spoon when turned upside down.