When hours and hours of canning seem too much for you, try fruit butters, that make up quickly. Last weekend I made apple butter, banana butter (no kidding), and pear butter. All easy. And relatively quick. At least in canning terms.
All three of these recipes are from "Tart and Sweet" by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler. I was a bit leery about this book after making their recipe for tomato paste that called for 6 lb of tomatoes to make 1 gallon of tomato paste (3 cups doesn't equal 1 gallon in my household). But the proportions for their fruit butters turned out accurately.
My favorite is the banana butter, but all three win the taste test. Have fun.
3 1/2 lb bananas, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1/8 t ground caradmom
1/8 t ground cinnamon
Place ingredients in medium pot and cook over med-high heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching, until bananas resemble a thick butter.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Check for air bubbles, wipe rims, and seal. Process for 10 minutes. Yields 3 pints.
4 lb apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2" wedges
1 c maple sugar
1 c sugar
1-2 ground cinnamon
1 t grated nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t ground cloves
2 star anise pods (I didn't use them)
Juice of 1 lemon
Place all ingreds in a large heavy-bottomed pot and bring to simmer over med-high heat, stirring frequently. Lower heat a bit and continue to stir. The apples will begin to break down after 20 minutes, but mashing them with a potato masher speeds that up.
After about 1 1/4 hours, take pot off heat and blend mixture in pot w/immersion blender or food processor. Blend until mixture gets to your preferred consistency (whatever that means -- ed note).
Return mixture to pot, if necessary, and cook over med-low heat for another 20 minutes, or until butter mounds on chilled spoon and is thicker than applesauce.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Check for air bubbles, wipe rims, and seal. Process for 15 minutes. Yields 4-5 pints.
6 lb pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" chunks
1 c sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon
Place pears and sugar in large heavy pot and bring to simmer over med-high heat, stirring frequently. Lower heat and continue to stir. Pears will begin to break down after 10 minutes, but using potato masher speeds things up.
After about an hour, remove pot from heat and blend in pot with immersion blender or in food processor. Blend until smooth.
Return mixture to pot, if necessary, and cook over low heat until it reaches a thick consistency. When butter is nice and thick, test for doneness using a chilled spoon.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Check for air bubbles, wipe rims, and seal. Process for 10 minutes. Yields about 7 pints.
I halved both the apple and pear butters, but made all of the banana butter, mostly because it was so intriguing. I've now become a daily devotee.