Sunday, August 5, 2012
My dear friend Becca loves apple butter. She's been singing its praises to me for the last couple of years. I can't wait to make some later this week with some Ginger Apples I found at a local fruit stand. But as a precursor, I decided to make peach butter. The concept is the same, but you are just using peaches rather than apples. Fruit butters are similar to jam, however, they are typically smoother in texture (absolutely smooth usually), and are cooked down to reduce most of the water out of the fruit mixture.
Contrary to their name, there is no butter in fruit butters. Peach butter is a delightfully rich spread that can be used anyplace you use jam or any other kind of fruit butter. I bought my peaches fresh from a local fruit stand (they came from Eastern Washington where they get much more sun), waited two days for them to perfectly ripen and then made the fruit butter. This is a combo recipe between Smitten Kitchen and my Put Em Up canning cookbook.
3 lb. fresh peaches
1 cup water
1.75 cups sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Put each peach into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, and then into a bowl of cold water for a minute. The peels will slide right off. **I was suspicious with how well this would work, but it was so easy!!**
2. Halve the peaches and remove the pits, then cut each half into chunks. Place peach chunks and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until peaches are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Puree peaches in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender. **I used an immersion blender, which worked very well!**
3. Put the peaches back in the pot and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a good strong simmer/gentle boil, cooking them at this level for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more often near the end, as it thickens up and the fruit masses risk scorching on the bottom of the pot. **I cooked for 30 minutes and it was ready.**
4. Let peach butter cool (unless you’re canning it, in which case, you would process for 10 minutes and let sit for 5 minutes in the canning bath before removing from the water). If you’re not canning it, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good for at least two weeks.