Fruit butters and fruit cheese are old-fashioned names for preserves made with fruit puree and sugar. Generally the fruits used for jellies are also the best ones for butter and cheeses and they can even be made from the pulp left in the jelly bag after the juice has dripped. Two products from one fruit!
The same equipment is required as for jam marking, with the addition of a fine nylon or plastic sieve.
Fruit butters are soft and spreadable. They are a particularly useful way for dealing with a glut of wild fruits and, as less sugar is required for this sort of preserve, they are very economical. Due to their lower sugar content they generally have a storage life of only a few weeks and, once opened, should be eaten with a few days.
Fruit cheeses are made from a stiff fruit purée. This is a good way of preserving fruit which has a lot of pips or stones. They use a larger proportion of sugar to purée than fruit butters.
Fruit cheeses can be turned out in one piece and cut with a knife in place of cheese or, cut into small pieces, as a sweetmeat. They are also useful as a condiment to cold meat or poultry. Cheeses can be stored for up to 4 months and are often better if left to mature for 2 months before using
Making Fruit Cheeses and Butters
- Clean and roughly chop large fruits, discarding any parts that are bruised or diseased. Small fruits may be used whole.
- Place the fruit into the preserving pan and just cover with cold water. Simmer until soft, adding lemon juice or citric acid to fruits low in acid.
- Rub the softened fruit through a nylon or plastic sieve to produce a fine pulp. Weigh the pulp and pour it into a clean preserving pan or saucepan.
- To make a cheese add a similar weight of sugar to the pulp and stir until dissolved. Simmer for 1 hour or until the cheese thickens, stirring the mixture consistently.
- To make a fruit butter boil the pulp until it is thick, then stir in half the pulp’s weight of sugar, plus spices if required. Simmer until the mixture is thick and creamy.
- Fruit cheese is ready when a spoon drawn across the pan leaves a clean line. Fruit butter is ready when no free liquid is visible and the surface is creamy.
- Pour cheeses into clean, hot, dry sterilized small wide-necked jars or moulds that have been greased with glycerine. Pour fruit butters into clean, hot, dry sterilized jars as when making jam.
- Wipe the jars or moulds clean and cover immediately whilst still hot.
- Leave to cool and label with contents and date made.
Recipes For Fruit Cheeses & Butters
- Quince Cheese Recipe
- Gooseberry Butter Recipe
- Black Currant Butter Recipe
- Damson Cheese Recipe
- Cranberry Cheese Recipe
- Spiced Apple Butter Recipe
More on Preserves
- Fruit Curds – How To Make Fruit Curd
- How to Make Your Own Ketchups & Sauces
- Pickles – How to Make Pickles
- Relishes – How to Make Relishes at Home