Friday, June 17, 2016

Slow cooker strawberry butter

Slow cooker strawberry butter is sweetened naturally with pure maple syrup and a touch of honey -- enjoy it on toast or stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. 

Naturally sweetened slow cooker strawberry butter

I scored the very last of the local strawberries from a neighborhood farm market this week. Which threw me into such a panic (No more strawberries until next year? Gaaaaaaah!) that I had to preserve them.

I froze a bunch for smoothies and then thought about strawberry jam. But then I tried to think of something else with less than a bazillion pounds of sugar.

And that reminded me to check Marisa McClellan's latest preserving book entitled Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. This is a whole book of preserves made without refined sugar. Yes! No white sugar -- amazing, flavorful jams and preserves sweetened only natural sweeteners like honey, maple and fruit juices.


I do so love to can but sometimes the amount of sugar required to keep our favorite jams safe for canning makes me feel like I'm defeating the purpose of putting up healthy fresh fruit.

You know what I mean? (It's why my yummy pear honey is used very, very sparingly around Casa de Ninj.)

After making a couple of batches, I've decided this strawberry butter is my new favorite thing. It's like apple butter ... only so much freakin' better. I've been spreading it on toast, natch, but we also love to stir it into plain yogurt for breakfast.

And I haven't even begun to start baking or making overnight oatmeal with it yet!

Naturally sweetened slow cooker strawberry butter

While this strawberry butter is pretty effortless because it's cooked in the slow cooker, I'm giving you a heads up that it's definitely a weekend recipe. It takes about 16 hours to cook and, unfortunately, I don't recommend letting it cook down overnight unattended because it needs to be stirred occasionally so the edges don't burn.

I usually cook it for about 12 hours on a Saturday, turn it off and cool the crock for an hour or two and then pop it into the refrigerator overnight. On Sunday, I finish cooking it to the desired consistency, then either water-bath-can it or portion it out for the freezer.

But I promise you, it's entirely worth the effort!

Have you made fruit butters other than apple? Which is your favorite? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

Naturally sweetened slow cooker strawberry butter

Naturally Sweetened Slow Cooker Strawberry Butter

(slightly adapted from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since this strawberry butter can take up to 16 hours to reach optimum consistency, cook it for about 12-14 hours on the first day, stirring frequently, then turn it off and cool the crock for an hour or two and pop it into the refrigerator overnight. On the next day, set the crock on the counter for an hour to come to room temperature, then put it back into the cooker to finish cooking on LOW to the desired consistency. Cooking the fruit puree overnight without stirring can cause the edges to burn.

3-4 pounds strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (only required if you are water-bath-canning the butter)

Put the strawberries into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into the crock of a medium-sized slow cooker, cover and cook on HIGH for an hour or two. Reduce the temperature to LOW and vent the lid of the crock by turning it sideways or placing a wooden spoon under the lid to allow steam to escape (this speeds up the cooking-down process). Be sure to stir every hour or so to prevent the edges from burning.

Once the mixture has reached your desired consistency (anywhere from 12-16 hours), whisk in the maple syrup and honey, adding more maple if you'd like a sweeter butter or if your berries weren't super-sweet. If you plan to water-bath-can your butter, you must also add the lemon juice at this stage. Continue to cook, vented, on LOW for another 30 minutes or so. Transfer the hot butter to jars and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. If you'd rather freeze the butter than can it,  cool the jars to room temperature and place them in the freezer.
-- print recipe --


  1. I can barely express how deeply I loathe maple syrup. The scent alone sends me to the other side of the house. Any substitutions you might suggest?

    1. Oh, Vicki, I'm so sad you hate it so much! But feel free to just substitute additional honey or even some brown sugar. Enjoy!!

    2. I'm no alone! Lol thought I was the only one that couldn't stand maple syrup