I shoulda known goats would pick something like…
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).
I 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
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.
Once the carrots were tender, I added the sliced apples, and cooked until everything was soft.
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.
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”.
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!
The 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.
As 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…
Photo “Hungry Goat” ©iStock/Rhonda Lewis