Can Jam-February

I shoulda known goats would pick something like…

Doris and Jilly Pick...Carrots!Carrots for the February Can Jam ingredient.

I promised BarBBQ Bill that I would not stray (too far) from our personal canning resolution of “If we won’t eat it, we’re not going to waste the ingredients or the time to put it up.”

The majority of carrot recipes I found that could be put up using a boiling water bath (one of the Can Jam rules) were jams (carrot cake jam?  We don’t like carrot cake, so I doubt we’d eat jam that tastes like it) or pickles (already have too many jars of pickles in the pantry).

One thing I haven’t made in a while (and that we both enjoy) are fruit butters.  I found a Carrot-Apple Butter recipe in Linda Ziedrich’s book, The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves with these ingredients:

  • 2 pounds carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-3/4 pounds peeled, cored, sliced tart apples
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

and promptly modified the recipe to use up some cranberries I had (another resolution – use up what’s in the freezer by summer).

Carrot Cranapple ButterI decided to make a small batch of Carrot Cranapple Butter:

  • 1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 7 oz. cranberries
  • 7 oz. apples, thinly sliced (1 large Granny Smith apple)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Carrots, cranberries and juice.I simmered the carrots in cranberry juice until almost tender.  Added the cranberries and simmered until the cranberries started to pop.  I added a cinnamon stick for a wee bit of spice.

Add the apples and cook.Once the carrots were tender, I added the sliced apples, and cooked until everything was soft.

Puree in a food mill.I removed the cinnamon stick and pureed everything in the food processor first.  Then I ran it through a food mill with the medium screen in place.

Cooking down the puree.After the food milling process, I dumped the puree into the crock pot and added the sugar a 1/4 cup at a time, tasting along the way.  After cooking it about an hour, I wasn’t happy with the texture, so I dumped the puree into a blender and whizzed it until the tiny bits of carrots disappeared and got “buttery”.

Looks like butter.After another 1/2 hour, the butter thickened nicely.  I stirred in the vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract) and added another dash of cranberry juice – just ’cause I thought it needed it.

After ladling the butter into the jars (1/4″ headspace BTW), I actually remembered to get most of the air bubbles out before I sealed them (a chopstick works great) and processed the jars for 10 minutes in the BWB.

From this batch, I got one 1/2 pint jar and two 1/4 pints.  I’m sure I would have gotten another 1/4 pint if I hadn’t lost a lot in the back-and-forth transfers from the food processor to the food mill to the blender and some tasting!

Cranapple Carrot MuffinsThe butter was a wonderful complement for these Cranapple Carrot Muffins that we had as our Valentine’s Day breakfast:

  • 1 cup apples, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (walnuts would probably work, too)
  • 1-1/4 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce

Mix the apples and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries, carrots and nuts. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix well to moisten the dry ingredients. Lightly beat the egg.  Stir the egg and the applesauce into the apple mixture.

Fill 12 greased muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes.

The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet PreservesAs a reward for reading this very long post, I’m giving away a copy of Linda Ziedrich’s Jams and Jellies book.  Leave a comment on this post by midnight EST, Friday, February 26 to be entered in the drawing.  And the winner is…

Number 2Congratulations, Jenny!

Photo “Hungry Goat” ©iStock/Rhonda Lewis

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13 Responses to “Can Jam-February”

  1. Paula Says:

    That’s a great looking recipe!

  2. Jenny Says:

    What a great combo for a fruit butter! Sounds yummy!
    I would love to win a copy of the book!

  3. Krystie Says:

    The outcome looks awesome! I would love win a copy of the book. You “jammers” have me motivated to learn to can this year :)

  4. Jamie Says:

    What a great combination! I had the same problem with carrots at the February Can Jam and picked the same recipe from the same book. But I didn’t have the confidence to modify the recipe. I went the spiced direction instead. Yours looks delicious!

  5. Kristen Says:

    That sounds like a really tasty recipe – thanks for sharing! And I would love to be entered in your giveaway. :)

  6. Daisy Mae Says:

    I really like the idea of adding the cranberries. The few times I’ve attempted fruit butters, I’ve found them too sweet. But the addition of the cranberries sounds like it would add some tartness.

  7. Gramma Greenjeans Says:

    Thanks all! I have to admit I was surprised how much we liked it (skeptic that I am).

    Jamie – I felt comfortable adding cranberries as a substitute for some of the apple because they are very high-acid (low pH number) and they’re also high in natural pectin, so the butter thickened nicely. Plus the cranberry juice added more acid (with a bit more flavor than water) ;-)

    Daisy Mae – The cranberries did add a nice tartness. I tasted after each addition of a 1/4 cup of sugar, and it did need the whole cup…maybe because the apple was tart as well. I was ready to stop after 3/4 cup, but it wasn’t quite “there”.

    And I got that pesky half a bag of cranberries used up!

  8. Terri Says:

    A number of Can Jammers are using this book. I really need a copy.

  9. ap269 Says:

    OMG. I feel sooo embarrassed now. I’ve read the word “cranapple” a couple of times in some blog posts, and I was always wondering what kind of apple that might be. *blush*. Today when I was reading your post it dawned to me that it’s just a made-up word for cranberry + apple. DUH!!!! In my defence, I have to say that I’m not a native speaker, and that cranberries are not really popular in Germany (I LOVE them, though), so there are no recipes where cranberries and apples are combined. Anyway, thanks for this lesson, and I’ll definitely make cranapple butter soon (I still have some cranberries in my freezer :-) ).

  10. kaela Says:

    Ooooh, a jam/jelly book that I don’t have! Pick me, pick me! :)

    Love the color of this butter; I have to say a carrot-inspired butter didn’t even occur to me, but a lot of the recipes look and sound fantastic (including this one).

  11. Cortney Says:

    So creative! I love how you modified the recipe.

    (don’t count me as I doubt I would get to use)

  12. bridget Says:

    Wow! I never would have considered a carrot butter. Looks good; I’ll add it to my list of things to try.

  13. Rebecca Says:

    We love butters! And if yours tastes as enticing as your photos this will be a keeper in our collection. Found a half bag of cranberries yesterday while reorganizing the freezer and have a ton of carrots (growing carrots is an obsession of my husband). WIll definitely be making this over the weekend! Sign me up for the book! Thanks!