Fruit Butter

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Fruit butter is a thick but spreadable syrupy paste, usually made from sweet or sharp apples or pears. Made in tenth-century Arab kitchens from fruit pulp and honey vinegar, and in Victorian English kitchens using rum, today butters are best known in the Netherlands (appelstroop), Belgium (sirop de Liège for apple or birnenhonig for pear), Germany (Apfelkraut), Poland (powidło), and the United States (apple butter). The fruit is stewed with apple cider or vinegar for added sharpness and with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. The strained fruit mixture is then cooked with sugar in a ratio of about 3 parts sugar to 1 part pulp until dark, thick, and creamy, and stored in jars. Usually a deep brownish black due to the long cooking and spices, it is eaten spread on bread or as an accompaniment to cooked meats, as well as being used as an ingredient in baking.