I made a batch of blueberry butter last night, taking the recipe from foodinjars.com. She uses a slow cooker for her butters and it was awesome. I blended the berries, put them in the cooker, and wandered off to play in the garden, do animal chores, watch TrueBlood (who doesn't LOVE TrueBlood?). I didn't have to worry about my butter burning. It was awesome! And my kitchen stayed cooler than it normally does when I can...or maybe it helped that I wasn't in the kitchen standing over a hot stove and boiling pots the whole time.
I did end up finishing the butter on the stove, so that we could go to bed before midnight, but it was a small sacrifice to make. And I believe I read somewhere that it uses less energy to use a slow cooker for butters than it does to use the stove. Hmm.
I wonder what else you could do in a slow cooker. Could you make relishes in a cooker, or do they need a higher temperature than a slow cooker to thicken up? I would think if you could, you would want to boil your relish on the stove first and then transfer to the slow cooker to thicken up. But it might work. Hmm. Another something to think about.
BlueBerry Butter Recipe from FoodinJars
(modified, of course, because I can't just stick to a recipe)
8 cups of pureed blueberries (I used a blender)
--Put in slow cooker with lid and cook on low for an hour. After the first hour, stir, and prop lid with a wooden spoon to let out the steam.
--I cooked for five hours and then added:
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (the recipe calls for 1 lemon, zested and I didn't have any lemons)
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
I cooked for another hour in the slow cooker. Then, I had to cheat and thicken up on the stove. I called it done when no juice flowed from a spoonful placed on a chilled plate. You can also tell it's done when a trace on the top doesn't immediately fill with juice.
I put in 1/2 cup canning jars with lids and boiled for ten minutes.
We had it on english muffins this morning for breakfast! Yummy. It was AWESOME!!!
(Note: If you are not familiar with the process of canning, I recommend that you find a good book on canning to understand the basics before you try any canned recipe.)