Homemade Fruit Butters (1917)

An old agricultural bulletin all about preserving various fruits as "butters."

This bulletin does NOT tell how to make fruit butters over an open fire with iron or copper kettles, as is illustrated on the cover. Rather, it presents a faster approach to achieving the same objective with “the usual utensils in almost daily use in every kitchen."

Fruit butters are presented as a way to save perishable fruit (other than canning and drying) so as to “add variety to the menu and volume to the larder.” Here is what this bulletin says of itself…

“The object of this bulletin is not to cover the entire range of products which may be made from fruits, nor to publish a long list of recipes, but rather to revive an interest in a few of the more common home fruit products easily made and relished by most people.
The various butters considered in the following pages have all been made and tested in one of the laboratories of the United States Department of Agriculture and can be recommended as good, wholesome, home-prepared fruit products.”

Although Homemade Fruit Butters is only six pages long, it is full of information and fruit butter combinations. The value of this pdf file is found in the 100-year-old historical perspective of preserving food without refrigeration, and in the inspiration that comes in reading about this old technique (which is still a viable food preserving option). Here are the topics discussed:

Necessary equipment
Apple butter with cider
Apple butter without cider
Apple butter with grape juice
Apple butter with lemons
Apple butter with plums
Apple butter with rhubarb
Pear Butter
Peach butter
Plum Butter
Garfield Butter
Sterilization of containers for fruit butters

The following containers are discussed for long-term storage of the fruit butters: glass or stone jars, hermetically sealed stoneware containers, or any glass or stoneware containers with or without airtight covers.

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