A diary of all my mad projects.

I am glad that you stopped by - welcome to my world. Its a little mad and hectic as I sew, knit, embroider and generally craft my way through life. My newest resolution is to spend more time sewing - less time dreaming about it. I love to read comments so I am looking forward to hearing from you all.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two years on - nek miunt 2012!

Once again I am trying to blog. Maybe I am more a reader than a writer, I keep up with lots of amazing blogs and feel a real connection with the writers as they share aspects of their lives.

Weather has been on my mind lately as we have had so much rain that in some areas of our beautiful country the hills have been sliding down. In my neck of the woods the rain has turn our picturesque valley into a garden paradise. Trees, shrubs and flowers look freshly minted like a enchanted forest. The vegetable garden is full and all the plants are flourishing. Unfortunately this also means the weeds are giving their best, but I console myself with the thought that they will help the next years crop as compost!

With all this rain the Christmas Plums have been slow to ripen and are full of juice and splits. I have given up trying to get jam to set from these fruit and have made Plum Butter. This is a wonderfully rich and lucious tasting spread but with less sugar than jam. It is wonderful on vanilla ice cream and a friend is going to use his pot as a base for his famous Hot Plum Salad (no he won't give me the recipe but has promised to cook it for me so I'll construct my version then). Next up in the kitchen is some Plum jelly as I think by adding lemon juice I might be able to get this to set. Plus we have plenty of Plum Jam left from last years crop.

Plum Butter


This recipe is very simple but time consuming.

Wash and sort plums - if they are large enough, cut up and take out pips. If not just put in pan. Quantity does not matter but the butter keeps its beautiful colour if made in smaller quantities (max 3-4 kgs). It is best to use a heavy base pan to stop the bottom catching.

Do not add any water other than what is clinging to the plums from washing - slowly sweat the plums to bring out their juice, once there is some juice at the bottom turn up the heat and bring to the boil mixing the plums up to cook them all. Stir frequently to stop the bottom plums catching and burning.

When they are all soft and pulpy either push through a sieve to separate stones and break up the skins or if no pips blend. Measure the sieved pulp and for every 2 cups of pulp add 1 cup of sugar. ( I prefer this lower amount of sugar but you can add up to 1 3/4 cups of sugar for every 2 cups of pulp).

Return the pulp and sugar to the pan and bring to the boil stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Boil the mixture for another 15-20 minutes stirring regularily until the mixture is thick and gluepy ( the more pulp you have the longer this will take and can result in caramelisation of the sugars and changes in the taste.) To test if the butter is ready have some small dishes in the freezer - take one out and carefully drip a small quantity onto the plate. If it is ready it will cool to a thick gel and hold its shape. My children always seem to appear at this stage and love to be the taste testers.

Bottle into sterilised jars and cap with lids or covers.

To sterilise jars wash them and rinse, invert them but leave them with a film of water. Place jars in an oven set to 120C for 45 minutes. I place lids into a pot of water and bring to the boil for 10 minutes.

I store my preserves in a dark cupboard and have had no problems with spoilage following this method but if you are unsure you can keep this butter in the fridge. It is necessary to keep the butter in the fridge after opening as the sugar content is low.

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