Who Is Anastasia?

My photo
New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear - regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how junky it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ... Oh, the two pictures below are NOT of my garden, although the one with the pink French doors looks very much like the backyard I grew up with. I am searching for pictures of that wonderful place and will post soon.

JEWELS OF MY SOUL

JEWELS OF MY SOUL
My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

February 28, 2010

Fruit Butters

I know, I know - usually people make fruit butters near the end of the summer, but by now you should know - I bake to a different oven.

Fruit butter is a delicious down home delicacy. It is a rich, creamy fruit spread served at breakfast, lunch, dinner and any time you have a hankering for that fresh fruit taste.


Actually, fruit butter is not a butter at all; but a tasty topping similar to jam or jelly, spread on top of toast, biscuits, crackers, muffins, thick, rustic bread, and even as a condiment for meats.

Typically, the process of making fruit butter is merely cooking the fruit, pureeing it, and then re-cooking with or without the skin on until you have a smooth paste. Fruit butters are lightly sweetened, giving the fruit itself a more concentrated flavor.

The most common fruit butter is Apple Butter, which can be a show stopper when served with fried chicken, biscuits and honey, and all the trimmings. No longer just a country specialty from Grandma’s pantry, Apple Butter is now served in some of the most sophisticated kitchens everywhere. Other scrumptious varieties include Pear Butter, Prune Butter, Peach Butter, Apricot Butter, Orange Butter and Mango Butter.

One of fruit butter’s best traits is that it is a healthy alternative to syrups and other heavy toppings, being virtually fat free and contains very little processed sugars.

Easy Breezy Plum Butter

3 cans plums in juice (not syrup)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ cup sugar

Toss all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours. Check it to see when it is thick enough and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

Lite Banana Butter

5 ripe bananas, peeled

3 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ½ cup sugar or Splenda®

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Chop the bananas and put in food processor. Process with lemon juice until creamy. Place the banana puree in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring in Splenda® and pumpkin pie spice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Place in an airtight jar and refrigerate.

Lite Apple Butter

3 lbs. ripe apples (tart or sweet), cored and peeled

2 cups apple cider

½ cup Splenda®

2 tsp. apple pie spice

½ tsp. lemon juice

Slice the apples and place in a large saucepan with the apple cider. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer until apples are soft. Drain, reserving cider, and place in food processor. Add Splenda®, lemon juice, vinegar, and apple pie spice. Process until smooth, adding the reserved cider gradually for a smooth paste. Fill an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator.

The following recipe for Peach Butter comes from Barbara Rolek, about.com. http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/fruits/r/peachbutter.htm. I have tried this recipe and it using her stovetop method, and it is absolutely perfect.


Peach Butter


5 large peaches washed and pitted (no need to peel)


1/2 cup water


1 cup sugar


Preparation:


In a large saucepan, place peaches and water. Bring to a boil. Return to a simmer and cook until peaches are soft, about 20 minutes. Run the peaches through a food mill or a sieve and discard the skins. Add sugar to pulp and mix well. Now reduce the pulp by one of the following 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.


Place hot butter in hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Cover with hot sterilized lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove to counter and allow to cool before storing in a cool, dry, dark place.


If you don't process in a water bath, the butter can be kept refrigerated for up to three weeks or frozen for up to one year.


Note: Before attempting a home canning project, read what the Ball canning jars company has to say about it.

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips