Who can resist the tanginess of rhubarb mixed with the sweetness of strawberries? Not I, said the farm girl! I always seek the easiest method (within safe guidelines) when I preserve an item, and when I put up our crockpot rhubarb and strawberry butter it really couldn’t get any easier!
This year I was blessed by a neighbor down the road who allowed us to pick from her rhubarb patch, and as I was picking away my mind began creating a list of EVERYTHING I was going to make with it. Normally I would freeze the stalks until another fruit items comes into season, but this time I just couldn’t wait. The rhubarb and strawberry butter began calling to me…well, more to my husband than to me, but hey, if I want that fencing up around the lower lot I need to keep him happy!
Anytime I make a fruit butter I pull out the crockpot, yep, the crockpot. Much like any homesteading momma I am busy ~that’s with a capital B!~ and by allowing it to cook down in the crockpot it frees me from having to stand over the stove watching it, granting me time to do the plethora of other chores on my never ending to-do list. Honestly, this method is so simple that you can’t mess it up!
Start by cutting 2 pounds of fresh rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and quartering 2 pounds of strawberries. If you wish, feel free to balance the tartness of the rhubarb by adding additional strawberries.
In a 8 quart crockpot add the rhubarb, strawberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Gently fold in the sugars and vanilla, and set the crockpot to low. Now, pay close attention, cause this will make the difference between a watery butter or a nice thick butter ~ do not lock crockpot lid into place, instead place it at an angle leaving it open, OR place a frying screen over the top instead of the lid. It will take roughly 6 hours to cook down, stirring every so often…and by all means, feel free to take a taste!
Once it has cooked down, use an immersion blender to mix it all together. If you notice that your butter has to much liquid in it, continue to cook on high until it become thick enough for your liking, making sure to stir the bottom often.
An 8 quart crockpot will yield 4 pints, so if you plan on eating this up right you can refrigerated it. But if your plan is to preserve it, process in a hot water bath – 10 minutes for 1/2 pints, 15 minutes for pints.
We opted to use our steam canner for this task, and I L.O.V.E it! It takes no more than 2 inches of water, will hold 7 pint size jars and 6 quart size jars. The processing time is the same as a water bath canner, but LESS water, LESS wear and tear on your stove, and LESS heat in your kitchen! A steam canner is perfect for anything high in acidity, like jams, jellies, and pickled items. And seriously, once you try the steam canner you will not want to use your water bath canner for this type of job any longer!
This is not a USDA tested recipe. Many canning related questions can be answered here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/index.html