The severe winter we had in 2013/2014 left Ohio with no peaches the summer of 2014. When they returned this summer, I tried preserving their flavor in as many ways possible to savor the delightful peach flavor. People love their Georgia and California peaches, but nothing is better than food grown locally. Since I love buying local honey, I was thrilled to find this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Canning Guide, where both the peaches and honey let their sweetness shine.
Thanks to my heavy-duty Vitamix blender allowing me to keep the peels on the peaches, this recipe couldn't be easier, if you have a food mill you can also leave the peels on. If your blender isn't too powerful you may need to peel the peaches. Unless you prefer a chunky peach butter, the consistency is completely up to you. You can also make it thick, or thinner, depending on how long you cook it.
Peach honey butter takes a piece of toast to another level, but can be used to glaze pork chops, chicken, make tasty fruit crisp bars, give grilled cheese a sweet side, brighten up oatmeal, etc. etc. I'd love to hear how you use it!
Makes 6-10 half pints
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Complete Canning Guide
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
18 ripe medium-sized peaches, pitted (peeled if you don't have a food mill or high-speed blender), and cut up, or 9 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed
1/4 cup water (I only use 2 Tbsp. especially if peaches are really juicy)
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp. cinnamon, or to taste, optional
Step 2: Prepare, Cook, and Blend Peaches
I find the easiest way to pit peaches is to use a grapefruit spoon, the serrated edges help get the tougher area around the pit too. Then I slice them into wedges and add to 8-10-quart heavy pot.
Put the pan on the stove and add the water, the more liquid you add, the longer it will take the peach butter to thicken, so I only add a little bit to prevent the peaches from scorching the bottom of the pot before their liquid starts to release. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until peaches are tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Because a copious amount of liquid came out of my cooked peaches I used a strainer to transfer the softened peaches to my blender, otherwise the puree would've taken days to cook down. Using a blender, immersion blender, or food mill, puree peach mixture, in batches, until smooth (you should have about 14 cups puree).
Step 3: Cook Peach Butter
Mix sugar, cinnamon, and honey until combined. The cinnamon is optional, I just love the taste of cinnamon with peaches.
I added the puree to the sugar blend and mixed in a large bowl, but you can mix them all in the original pot instead. Return puree to pot, bring to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and mounds on a spoon, stirring about every 10 minutes.
The only tedious part of making fruit butters is that thickening them can take a short time, or a very long time, depending on how thin the puree was to begin with. I also prefer a thicker, spreadable butter, so I usually cook it down quite a bit.
You do need to stir it occasionally, or you run the risk of it scorching on the bottom, you don't have to stand at the stove all day, but this isn't the time for taking a bath or running errands.
While peach honey butter cooks, warm your lids over medium-low heat in a small saucepan filled with water, and start heating the water in your canning pot, either sterilizing your jars in that pot, or in a 225F oven for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4: Fill Jars and Preserve
Ladle hot butter into sterilized half-pint (I also use 4 oz.) canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel, place lids on jars, add screw bands until they are fingertip tight.
Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes, start timing when the water returns to a boil. After 5 minutes, turn the burner off and let the jars sit in the water another five minutes. Remove jars from canner, cool on wire racks, or line your counter with a kitchen towel and put the jars on there.
Leave the jars alone at least 12 hours before labeling and storing. Peach Honey Butter jars will keep, away from heat and sunlight, up to one year, refrigerate jars once opened.