I’m not gonna lie.
I look like a crazy person right now.
I’ve got some floppy sideways bun happenin’ on top of my head, with hair sticking straight out the sides like I’ve just slid down the slide seven times. My lips are chapped. My legs, unshaven. I’m pretty sure I’ve yet to brush my teeth for the day. I have a semicircle of black beneath my eyes from yesterday’s leftover mascara. Coming out of those semicircles are tear streaks, caused by the beautiful and heart breaking film “Lovely, still” I just watched on Netflix. I’ve got my grandma slippers on and ginger tea in my hand.
I’m a mess.
But I’m not feeling well today.
So, I’m pretty sure the mess is allowed.
However, no illness of mine can keep me from sharing lovely things with all of you beautiful people. Lovely things like peach butter.
Here is my last ode to peaches, as we will see them slowly slip out of season. It’s a fun way to keep that bright and flavorful peach around even while the winter months approach.
So, peach butter is pretty much a sister to peach jam. However, fruit butters tend to be less sweet than jams. They are also smoother and less translucent.
This particular recipe calls for much less sugar than even typical fruit butter recipes. I really wanted to peach flavor to shine and not get swallowed up in sweetness, you know? Sweetness is good, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
Ready to get working?
Gather your victims: Peaches, sugar, water, and a lemon. (Lemon isn’t pictured because, well, I just plain forgot. Your forgiveness is much appreciated.)
First, put a pot of water on to boil. Enough water to submerge the peaches in.
Now, grab a pairing knife and score an “x” on the bottom of each peach.
When the water is boiling, prepare an ice bath for the peaches to cool off in. No, I’m serious. They’re gonna need an ice bath.
Just fill a bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes.
Now – it’s time to do a quick blanch of those peaches. This is going to help their skins slide right off.
Just slip the peaches into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer them over to the ice bath. Let them sit in the cold water for a minute.
Now, this was supposed to allow the peach skins to slide right off, but mine didn’t take to the blanching so well. However it did soften the skins to help with the peeling process. I just took my pairing knife and cut the peels off. No biggie.
Once the skins are off, de-pit and cut your peaches into cubes.
Add them to an empty pot, along with your water. Let this hang out in there for 15-20 minutes. And please stir it every once in a while. We don’t want burnt peach butter.
When the peaches are finished simmering, you’ve got to smooth it out. I used an immersion blender, but you can easily transfer the peaches to a tabletop blender or food processor. You can also use a food mill, if you have one. We just need to get these puppies smoooooth.
Check it out – It’s all smooth. Except, I did leave a little bit of peach pieces in there. I like mine with some bite to it.
Next, pour in your sugar and squeeze in your lemon juice. Stir it up real good and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Again, watch those peaches! Stir it every once in a while, especially near the end. It doesn’t take much to push the peaches over the edge. Feisty little things, they are.
And, there you have it! Peach butter.
This stuff is so amazing. The peach flavor gets even stronger when it cools down in the fridge.
Use it to spread on your whole wheat toast with cream cheese, or dollop a bit of it on some raspberry muffins. Drizzle it on top of your yogurt and add in some crunchy granola. Spoon some on top of mango ice cream, or allow it to be the sweetener in your morning oats.
So many uses for this beautiful spread. So many. It’s delicious. Oh! I just thought of another – use it as a sweetener for homemade barbecue sauce. Peach barbecue sauce, slathered on top of chicken, then grilled over some hot coals. Oi vey! Yes, please.
Please make this. And share it with people you love.
My friends? Enjoy!
Yield: 4 cups
4 pounds peaches
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon
Without a food mill: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Dip each into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, and then into a bowl of cold water for a minute. The peels should slide right off. [If you have a food mill, skip the peeling step and I’ll tell you where to use it in a moment.]
Halve your peaches and remove the pits, then cut each half into quarters (i.e. 8 chunks from each peach). 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. If you have a food mill, run them through it to puree them and remove the skins. If you don’t have a food mill — i.e. you already peeled your peaches — you can puree in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender.
Return the peaches to the large pot, add the sugar and lemon juice and 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 risks scorching on the bottom of the pot.
There are several methods to test for doneness: You can drizzle a ribbon of sauce across the surface; when that ribbon holds its shape before dissolve into the pot, it is done. Some people use cold or frozen plates; dollop a spoonful in the middle of one and if no water forms a ring around it in a couple minutes, it is done. Others use a spoon; if the butter remains rounded on a spoon for two minutes, it is done. You can also check the pot itself; the butter is usually done when a wooden spoon leaves a clear train when scraped across the bottom.
Let peach butter cool (unless you’re canning it, in which, follow the directions below). If you’re not canning it, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good for at least two weeks.
To can your peach butter: First, sterilize your jars, either by boiling them in a large, deep pot of water (which should cover the jars completely) for 10 minutes or washing them in lots of hot soapy water, rinsing and drying the parts well and then place the jars only in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Then, divide your hot piping hot peach butter between your jars, leaving a little room at the top. Wipe the rims clean with a dry towel and cover the jars with their lids. Submerge the jars in a large, deep pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, either in a removable basket or using tongs to dip and remove them. Let cool completely on towels, a process that can take overnight. If canned properly, the peach butter should last indefinitely at room temperature.