Monday, September 19, 2011

Consistency Confusion

I'm (already) scheming for next year's county fair.  What can I say? I got a taste of ribbons and I can't get enough.

Actually, I'm just so pumped about banana butter and it's possibilities.  Spiced Banana Butter?  Walnut Banana Butter?  Bananas Foster Butter?  But the thing is, I quickly find myself bogged down in consistency matters.  First, what banana butter (and the variations I'm considering) aren't:

Jelly is completely clear because it's made strictly from juice and has structure.  It's definitely not Jelly.

Marmalade is citrus jam that has rind chunks.  Not Marmalade.

A Preserve is usually whole (small) fruit or fruit chunks in a syrup of their own juice and extra sugar.  Preserves are usually a cheesecake or ice cream topping.  Not it.

But here are the guys I'm getting caught up on, especially as it applies to the possibility of adding nuts to my banana butter:

Jam is made from a single fruit crushed or otherwise pulverized whole fruit and usually (but not always) contains pectin.

Fruit Butter is made from pureed fruit, cooked down until it's nice and thick.  In the past, it rarely contained pectin but it's becoming more common.

Conserve is a jam of mixed fruits, often containing nuts and raisins.  Conserves are often served more as a side than a spread... not unlike a chutney.

The Banana Butter is probably best labeled as a butter, but it's texture reminds me of a jam and it has the structure of a jelly (tho its DEF not a jelly).  Butters to me are supposed to have a more organic texture, and the pectin gives it a little too much gel.  The real issue comes in when (if) I add walnuts.  Butters HAVE to have a smooth consistency, so unless I ground the nuts to flour-like consistency, that's out.  It wouldn't be unheard of for a jam to have nuts in, but my banana butter goes in a pot as puree, not whole fruit that gets mashed along the way.  Wonder if I could change that?  Then there's conserves... which have nuts, but are supposed to have multiple fruits, raisins and be able to be a stand alone side.  So many things to think about...  Of course, all this matters because in order to enter it in the fair, you have to figure out which category to enter it under.

No comments:

Post a Comment