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Luscious Slow Cooker Plum Butter

devon 25 Comments

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Luscious Slow Cooker Plum Butter

Devon 25 Comments

Plum butter made in the slow cooker results in a rich, flavor fruitful spread ever so slightly nuanced with the almond notes of the plum pits.

There is a great shift happening.

The mornings are cold and dewy, although the days themselves warm, even sweltering.  The maples are starting to show their fall colors and a few crunchy leaves are starting to litter the ground dry hard ground.  It is late August now and the plums are starting to ripen.

Image courtesy of

When I first laid eyes on the place that I call home (at the time I write this post), I was charmed by the detailed Craftsman home, the brilliantly large elder, and the fruit and nut trees in the backyard.  The hilly pastures weren’t ideal and required a lot of fence work, but, hey, they were at least more than I had before.  The summer that we committed to this place, I loaded up many of the red flesh plums from the gnarled old tree out back and ate them like candy.  Since that time four years ago, the plum tree has only given me one crop.  This year she offers a mere shirttail full of fruit.  She is done.  And so am I.

We are moving.

Although I make effort to show you beauty with my site, I would be inauthentic to say that it has been a charmed life here.  A bad electrical system has left us scrambling to pay the power bill more months than I can count.  The barn is suffocatingly small, leaky and impossible to keep dry during our wet PNW winters.  Those pastures – bigger, but not better.  And the soil – well, it sucks. I can cover crop and compost to my heart’s content and get nowhere with it.  There you have it folks – ugly authentic.

We have purchased a new piece of property.  In fact, the notice that the loan docs have made it to the escrow agent to prepare for closing just hit my inbox.   And I promise to share more on that later.  But you came here for the plum butter.  So, plum butter I will deliver.

Fruit butter is my favorite way of making jam.  My secret is the slow cooker.  It saves my nitty gritty butt every time.  All hail the slow cooker.  Basically, place cleaned and halved fruit in slow cooker with sugar, lemon juice and whatever spices you want to add, walk away.  Come back, whirl it up with a stick blender, process in a water bath canner, and voila.  It doesn’t get more simple than that.

Plum butter is especially lovely.  My red fleshed plums result in a kinda sexy burgundy butter reminiscent of velvet theater screen drapes.  Purple skinned Italian plums offer a gorgeous aubergine hue that is lovely too.  Plums seems well adapted to this low and slow caramelization technique.  The sugars become darker and rich, and very, very yummy.  I wrap up a few of the pits in a muslin tea bags to imbue the plum butter with a delicate almond note. This plum butter is simple, delicious and not the least bit fussy.  But it tastes divine.  Perfect on toast, but capable of topping a custard or filling a sumptuous chocolate layer cake.  And I am never one to shy away from just eating it with a spoon.

It seems so very appropriate — this eeking out a batch of plum butter from my final crop of plums on this land.  The last of this tree, which will undoubtedly perish this winter. Such is the cycle of life.

I have no regrets, just ready for a new adventure.

And to stock the shelves of my new-to me 1930 vintage pantry with a few jars of this plum butter.

For another wonderful fruit butter, check out this peach butter with vanilla bean.

Slow Cooker Plum Butter Recipe

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5 from 7 votes

Slow Cooker Plum Butter

Plum butter made in the slow cooker results in a rich, flavorful fruit spread ever so slightly nuanced with the almond notes of the plum pits.  This canning recipe makes approximately 4 half-pints.


  • 8 cups fresh, ripe plums halved, pits removed
  • 1.5-2 cups organic sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 5-7 reserved pits tied in cheesecloth or a muslin tea bag


  • Place prepared plums, sugar, lemon juice and optional pits into a slow cooker set to low.  Cook, uncovered for 8-10 hours until fruit mixture is reduced by approximately half.
  • Remove pits, then puree to a smooth consistency using a stick blender or by cooling slightly and using a blender.  (If you don't want to can this recipe, cool the puree and ladle into containers for the freezer).
  • Ladle into sterilized jars.  Wipe rims clean and place prepared lids on finger tight.  Process in a water bath canner at a rolling boil, 10 minutes for half pints and 15 minutes for pints.
  • After processing, remove from canner and allow jars to cool to room temperature before moving.  Check for seal and place in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.

Plum Butter


Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, was published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of can be seen at,,, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen, will be published Fall 2019.

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  • Nicole September 12, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Did I read that right? cook in slow cooker UN covered?

    • Devon September 12, 2019 at 11:37 pm

      Yes, leaving the slow cooker uncovered (at least partially) will allow for evaporation, helping to reduce the fruit to t thick consistency.

    • Angela October 11, 2021 at 8:31 am

      5 stars
      Yes, no need to cover. I put a skillet screen over mine and turned my lid side ways on top to keep the kiddo’s from wanting to reach inside.

  • Erinne September 23, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Do I need the lemon juice? Can I put something else in it instead. Have a bad lemon allergy.

    • Devon September 25, 2019 at 4:08 am

      You do need to increase the acidity with lemon if canning. Vinegar is an alternative, but you might not like the resulting favor with the plum (although I love it with apple buter). I would suggest freezing this butter is you are unable to add citrus.

      • Holli October 2, 2022 at 2:39 am

        Can you have citric acid?

  • Jaybird April 30, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    How many plums do you usually use with this recipe?

    • Angela October 11, 2021 at 8:37 am

      5 stars
      I used between 80 – 90 for one batch, but it will depend on the size of your plums.

    • Angela August 22, 2022 at 8:00 am

      Can I show my ignorance and ask what is a water bath canner?

      • Jennifer August 27, 2022 at 11:04 am

        Its a large lightweight pot (similar to a tamale pot) that you place a wire rack in (so the jars don’t touch the bottom of the pan during the canning process and break-it has to be boiling consistently in order to create the seal on the lids)

  • Dawn July 10, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I made this and it has a very thin consistency. Is there anything I can do after it has cooled to thicken it up a little?

    • Angela October 11, 2021 at 8:34 am

      5 stars
      Corn starch possibly?

      Did you cook it UNCOVERED? If you had the lid on the liquid couldn’t evaporate.
      I made mine yesterday and the consistency was thick and fabulous. I let mine cook on low 10 hrs.

    • Ann-Maree February 7, 2023 at 8:11 pm

      Mine was the same I think it may have to do with the type of plums. I used Luisa which are really big plums (100-200gm per plum) I guessed 3 plums per cup and it was still quite runny and tart so I thought my portions may be wrong so I might add some more sugar and cook another couple of hours and see how I go. Easy way to make jam though.

  • Penn July 31, 2020 at 1:42 am

    5 stars
    Perfect and SO yummy! Thank you for sharing your recipe- it was super easy! I can’t wait to share the jar’d Plum Butter and some homemade biscuits with friends and family!

  • Beverly Kearney August 8, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Hi!! CUrious if this is approrpiate to freeze instead of a water bath. I am brand new to this! Thanks!

  • Karen August 14, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Do you remove the peel from the plums?

  • Karen August 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

    There is no mention of peeling the plums. Do I need to do that?

  • Jennifer August 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Hi – I know that there is arsenic content in some fruit seeds/cores/pits.
    This might be a silly question- but is it safe to use the plum pits?

  • Tanya September 13, 2020 at 5:22 am

    It says cleaned plums, does that mean peeled?

  • Natalie September 14, 2020 at 5:43 am

    Hi, I was wondering why there’s no pectin in the recipe, do plums have enough of there own? Also if I can it is it safe for the pantry and good for a year?

  • Verna September 22, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Can I freeze this? There is a shortage of canning jars this year.

  • Angela October 11, 2021 at 8:26 am

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday…wowza, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s going to be heavenly on homemade biscuits, thank you so much for sharing. Love the simplicity of using the crockpot.
    To answer a few questions I saw…I didn’t peel my plums, no need for pectin in this recipe, if you water bath there is no reason it shouldn’t last a yr on the shelf, but I guarantee ours won’t last that long. Yes it is suitable to freeze if you do not want to can it. I don’t like plastic, so if you use it, I would let the plum butter cool completely and make sure you use bpa free plastic.

  • Adele September 18, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    I want to half this recipe but want to make sure I keep the correct ratio of acidity for shelf stability. Would 3 tbs of lemon juice be appropriate for half a recipe?

  • Melissa October 5, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    5 stars
    This turned out perfectly! So easy, so good!

  • Pat October 19, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and so easy. I’m always trying new recipes and this one is by far the most delightful surprise and best one all year!

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    About Me

    About Me

    Meet the Nitty Gritty Mama, Devon!

    I am an herbalist, farmer, cook, and forager. I get my hands dirty and am not afraid to do things the "hard way". Sharing my Nitty Gritty Life with you! Read More



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