I’m madly trying to get the most out of the short rhubarb season. The other day when I asked my produce guy for some he went in the back and brought me out a HUGE armload of stalks. We’re leaving town this week so I need to preserve it for later. And I’ve always loved old fashioned fresh fruit butters, I love the smooth, silky texture, and I love the way the flavor is intensified. They don’t require sugar like traditional jams, and so the essence of the fruit comes through stronger. The only reason I used a little sugar in this recipe is that rhubarb is super tart. You can do this with lots of different fruit, from apples to peaches and plums. Berries too, but you’ll want to strain out the seeds. I have an incredibly silky CRANBERRY BUTTER recipe that you can make in the slow cooker.
- 1 lb rhubarb
- 1/2 cup sugar
- squeeze of fresh lemon
- optional: 1/4 tsp cardamom, or cinnamon, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- Rinse the rhubarb and trim the ends Slice it into 1 inch pieces and put in a heavy bottomed pot along with the sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of water and the lemon juice, and stir to combine.
- Heat, stirring constantly, until the rhubarb starts to give off juice and the mixture comes to a boil. Boil gently for about 20-30 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft and mostly broken down.
- Puree the mixture, in batches if necessary,. Be careful when pureeing hot liquids, as they can 'explode' up through the spout of the processor or blender.
- Put the puree in a clean pan back on the stove and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it gently bubble away until reduced and thickened about another 20 minutes, Stir often, and be careful not to let the fruit scorch. If you are using the spice or vanilla bean, stir it in now.
- Spoon the finished butter into a glass jar. Let cool, then cap and refrigerate. It will thicken further as it cools. You will have about a cup.
There is no firm rule about how long to cook the pureed fruit. The longer you cook it and reduce it down, the thicker it will be. It's a matter of personal taste.
Plan to consume the rhubarb butter within a few weeks. You can also freeze it or can it for longer storage.
With no pectin, and very little, if any, sugar, this is an easy way to preserve fruit. You can blend varieties, or just stick to one. You can add spice or flavoring, too. I added cardamom to my rhubarb, but next time I’m going to use a vanilla bean.
If you want to make a larger batch, you can freeze this, and you can also can it. I just keep it in the fridge, it will be scarfed up within a couple of weeks.