k, I'm NOT a fan of plums. At all. I don't know why, but they've just never been as great as some of the more spectacular fruits - strawberries, peaches, raspberries, nectarines...mmmm. :)
So, when I discovered that I had to preserve these things, I had NO idea what to do. And there were so MANY! So, I figured, what better way than to experiment with some recipes! And I found one that I just love, love, love. It's plum butter. Let me tell you a little about this treat.
First of all, I've been on a kick lately with sugar. Not where I eat it, but where I find ways to lessen its presence. It started with my apple molasses muffins. The first time I made them, I thought they tasted bland. Mountain Man loved them. Really? Maybe I'll try it again. The next time I made them, I thought the apple flavor was exquisite! Hm...maybe I like it. Third time? I was hooked. They are delicious! Once the sugar flavoring was toned down a bit, I started to notice that my taste buds have other taste sensations! The same thing happened with my grandmother's old blueberry muffin recipe. First time I tasted it, I thought - sheesh! Did I forget the sugar? Next muffin, I thought, wow, the blueberries really are great. And I ate another one... :)
I know you are probably sick and tired of hearing about Mountain Man's survival week, but this was exactly what they were demonstrating with the food. Our culture is SO stuck on salty and sweet, that we've lost the enjoyment, the complexity of the flavor of our foods. I once heard that the average person consumed something like 8 pounds of sugar in a year 100 years ago. Now we consume, what 60 pounds a year? Now, I'm not one to cut out a TON of sugar - I do like to baby my sweet tooth, ESPECIALLY around the holidays, but when I find something less sugar that's just as tasty, heck, I'm all for it! (And most of you know that I'm not down with the unnatural substitutions - give me molasses, honey, maple syrup, or agave, but I'll pass on the aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose)
So, when I found out about plum butter, I was all about trying it. And let me tell you, this is my new joy in canning! Let me explain - to make plum jam, you need 6 cups of plums, and a whopping 8 cups of sugar! Oh, my! I can't believe how much sugar I go through in the harvest season! But, plum butter calls for 2 quarts (8 cups) of plums, and only 2 1/2 cups of sugar. Then, you simmer the plums down to a thicker consistency, add a little cinnamon, and voila! You've got plum butter. I do not like plums, but I LOVE plum butter! We've had it for the jelly in peanut butter and jelly, and it works just as great as jelly. So, another great recipe with less sugar and lots of flavor!! Yea!!
Next project, I think I will try some yummy apple butter!