Introduction: Peach Butter
I first discovered fruit butters when I was six, where I had a blissful summer eating apple butter on my aunt's fresh bread every single day for breakfast. These days, I subsist on pumpkin butter and cranberry apple butter that Trader Joe's carries from September through December (I stock up).
That said, when I walked into my local grocer and saw white peaches the size of a baby's head, I knew I had to do something with them (besides eat as many as I could straight up, om nom). So! Peach butter it was.
You will need:
- a large pot (two if necessary)
- a stove top
- a can lifter or tongs
- hot mits
- measuring cups and spoons
- a ladle
- a drying rack and towel
- a baking sheet (optional)
- peaches (1 pound per half pint jar you would like to make)
- lots of water
- lemon juice
- canning jars, lid, and screwtops
Step 1: Sterilize the Jars
Fill a large pot with water, and place lids, screw tops, and jars into the pot, making sure they are fully covered. Bring to a full boil and let sterilize for 10 minutes. Remove the lids and screw tops and let them dry on a wire rack. Place the jars on a cookie tray and bake in a 200 deg C oven for 20 minutes. Let jars cool on the wire rack while you make the butter.
Step 2: Prepare the Peaches
Bring a large pot of water to a boil (again - there's going to be a lot of boiling in this recipe, which unfortunately makes your kitchen very, very warm on a summer day). As the water is heating, cut an X into the bottom of each peach, and fill a large bowl with ice water.
Once the water has boiled, submerge each peach fully in the boiling water for 1 minute, and then transfer to the peaches to the ice water for another minute. After that, peel the skins off with your fingers or a small knife - they should just slide right off! (Protip: also a great way to peel tomatoes, so you don't have stringy skin bits hanging out in your spaghetti sauce.)
Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and then cut the peaches into a total of eight pieces.
Step 3: Boil and Puree the Peaches
Add the peach chunks and a 1/4 cup of water per pound of peaches to a large pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the peaches are nice and soft.
Transfer peaches to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. You may have to do this in several batches, and be careful, for the peaches were just boiling and are therefore very, very hot. Transfer the puree back into your large pot.
Step 4: Boil the Butter
Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice per pound of peaches to the puree, and bring to a gentle boil. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring the bottom of the pot often so as not to burn any of the butter.
Test your butter after 30 minutes, to see if it is thick enough. There are two ways to do this:
1. Scoop up a small amount of butter, and drizzle it from about three inches above the surface of the butter. If the trail stays visible for at least a couple of seconds, then it is done. If it disappears almost immediately, then it needs more time.
2. Dip a room temperature metal spoon into the butter. If butter stays on the back of the spoon without falling off, then it is done.
Let the butter cool slightly, until it cool enough to handle, but still warm.
Step 5: Can the Butter
Bring another (clean) pot of water to a rolling boil. This can be same pot (and water) as the pot that you boiled the jars in originally.
Fill each half pint jar with about a cup of butter, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of each jar. Tightly cap each jar with a sterile lid, making sure that the seal is tight. You may have a little bit extra, which you can reserve in a bowl for immediate nomming.
Lower each jar (carefully!) into the boiling water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove jars (again, carefully!) from the boiling water, and let cool at room temperature.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Toast up a slice of your favourite bread, and slather on a thick layer of peach butter from your immediate reserve.
Store remainder jars at room temperature for as long as you'd like, or until you are craving a little taste of summer when it's cold and chilly out. They make perfect little hostess-gifts, but feel free to hoard them all to yourself.