Oh my. Blueberry Butter. Say it with me now real slow. Blueberry Butter. Elongated vowels smashed up against consonants. It cooks the same way too. Slow and smooth with a hint of sweetness.
A few months back on a particularly hot June day when I could barely manage to rinse a handful of just picked berries before popping them into my mouth, I came across Marisa’s slow cooker blueberry butter post on her site Food in Jars . I haven’t stopped thinking or talking about it since. When the last jars of blueberry butter are sealed and once the apple-sauce and-butter cooks down, we’re onto winter squash. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
It’s still complete canning madness around here with 10-plus pound boxes of blueberries, peaches, tomatoes and now apples crowded in our kitchen. I’m left to figure out what to do with it all. So I hunker down, dress in my favorite apron, crank up my mister’s made-to-order canning mix, and get all mad scientist in the kitchen for a few weeks. I reach for a canning tongs and sterilized jars before I put one hand in a pot of blueberry butter the other in a tray of oven-roasted tomatoes.
Jars and lids sprawl like mint leaves across the counters and floor. You can’t walk through the kitchen without skidding on a lid into the dining room or tripping over half a dozen boxed pint jars. It’s more of the same in the pantry/laundry room with canning and stockpots, trays of roasted tomatoes, and fresh peaches in a paper bag balanced on top of the washer and dryer.
When I finish putting up 60-pounds of tomatoes I move onto 15-pounds of peaches finally onto 20-pounds of peaches. Then I make a discovery. I need more blueberries because this butter, this honey and sugar tinged butter with all of its lemon and vanilla twang is the very thing to revolutionize toast. As in, this is the only thing I want to eat these days. A pat of sweet cream butter melts between a piece of warm toast and a layer of blueberry butter. If you don’t make it to the canning stage, it’s okay. Apples are around the corner.
Here’s the canning mix
plus the track list
1. Wasted Hours (Arcade Fire)
2. Crow Jane (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
3. The Shape Is In a Trance (Thurston Moore)
4. King Harvest, Has Surely Come (The Band)
5. Hear the Wind Blow (Britta Phillips & Dean Wareham)
6. Stairway to the Stars, single version (Ella Fitzgerald)
7. 40′ (Franz Ferdinand)
8. Along the Way (DeVotchKa)
9. Almost Gold (The Jesus & Mary Chain)
10. Date To Church with Tom Waits (The Replacements)
11. sometimes (My Bloody Valentine)
12. I Found a Reason, Demo (The Velvet Underground)
13. Lion’s Jaws (Neko Case)
14. Uncloudy Day (Willie Nelson)
15. Just Once Too Often (Derwood Brown & His Musical Brownies)
16. Killer Diller Blues, previously unreleased (Memphis Minnie)
8 cups ripe blueberries
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 cup raw honey
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the blueberries in a slow cooker. Turn the heat to low and place a lid on top. Let the berries cook, untouched, for one hour or so. Partially uncover the berries so the steam can evaporate and cook them low and slow for about five hours.
Then add the sugar, honey, lemon zest, and vanilla. If necessary, adjust the sweetness and seasoning to taste. Remove the lid, turn the heat up to high and cook another hour or so until the butter is thick. The butter is ready when you spoon some onto a plate and it no longer releases juice around it. Roughly puree the blueberries with a potato masher or with an immersion blender.
Pour the butter into pint-size jars, leaving a minimum 1/2-inch head space. Stir the butter in each jar with a bubble tool, plastic knife, or chopstick to release trapped air. Wipe the rims with a clean cloth. Add the lids and screw on the bands. Using the boiling water method, process in a canner for 10 minutes. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.