Mastery Food Challenge – Making plum butter and keeping my home free of evil spirits


You can’t evoke great spirits and eat plums at the same time.

George William Russell

This month, my world is rich in plums. They are ripe and juicy and flavorful. I am eating these small, sensuous fruits by the bushel full and I am happy to report that I have not been the least bit tempted to evoke any great, and probably, evil spirits.

My own tree did well, but the bears got to it before I did. My neighbor’s trees did much better and she generously shared several buckets of ripe juicy fruit with me.

The real challenge was what to do with this bounty.

I have more than enough jam in my pantry and I don’t drink enough to justify making plum brandy. I will dehydrate some but that will use a small portion of my bounty.

To the rescue:

Brown Sugar Crockpot Plum Butter

from the Food in Jars website


  • 7 pounds Italian plums. I made my first batch with the golden reddy plums shown in most of the pictures and the resulting butter took a very long time to reduce, but it was still very tasty. I made a second batch using Italian Plums and it was luxurious.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 lemon. On the advice of Marisa from the Food in Jars website, I left the lemon out (allergies). You must be careful excluding lemons or lemon juice from canning recipes because the safety of the final product may depend on the acidity provided by the lemon. In this case, the lemon juice only enhanced the flavor thus it was safe to exclude it from the recipe.


Wash the plums, cut them in half, and remove the  pits. I put my pits out in the compost. With any luck, I will end up with a volunteer plum tree to call my own.

Plums having a shower in the morning sun

Place the plums into the slow cooker. Add 2 tablespoons of water,  and put on the lid, and  on the cooker. Set the cooker to high and cook for 2 to 4 hours.

In the slow cooker

After 2 or so hours, the plums should be tender and they should have released a lot of liquid. Get out your immersion blender and blend the fruit until it becomes a smooth fruit puree.

Set a wooden chopstick across the rim of the slow cooker and set the lid on so that it is vented slightly. I ended up using a wooden spoon instead of a chopstick.

Turn the cooker on to low heat and cook the fruit puree for 6 to 10 hours, until the plum puree has reduced into a thick, dense, spreadable paste. Stir every now and then to keep the puree from burning on the bottom and sides.

Scrape the finished butter into a medium saucepan and puree again with your immersion blender.

Add sugar, spices, and lemon juice (if using). Taste and adjust as necessary.

I brought my seasoned puree to boiling in the saucepan before funneling it into my jars.

Funnel the finished butter in half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. This is important. I had two jars fail to seal because I didn’t leave enough headspace.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

The Results:

A jar of Italian Plum Butter

pure yum. A prefect remedy against evoking evil spirits.

The Cost:

I didn’t break down the cost for the plum butter because I have never seen it for sale. That doesn’t mean that making a batch won’t save you money. I am planning on using this butter as a substitute for the fat when baking. Fat, whether butter or oil, continues to increase in price. By using fruit butters in my baking, I am hoping to not only lower the calorie count but also improve the nutritional value of the final product while making it moist. It is supposed to work even better with gluten free flours. I can’t wait to start experimenting!

What I Learnt:

  • It takes a lot of plums to make this butter. They really cook down.
  • I will make as much plum butter as I can next year.
  • I have awesome neighbours.
  • Plums can be ripened off the tree.

Will I do this again?

Yes. Without question. An in greater amounts.

I don’t know who this guy is or what the background is but he makes plums sound even more incredible.


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