As soon as I saw the post for peach butter on smitten kitchen, I knew I was going to be making some (actually, I think that for most of the recipes she posts). My mum used to make peach butter when I was little and I could practically devour a whole jar in one sitting. So good. Okanagan peaches are in season here (88 cents a pound!) so I came home with 4 lbs the other day and got down to preserving. I’ve never actually canned anything on my own before, but I managed pretty well: I have a good collection of half pint jars (great for shaking up a quick salad dressing), I bought some canning lids and rings, and I used a large stock pot for the boiling water bath. I got a “home canning kit” as well, which included a jar funnel, rubberized jar tongs, and a handy magnetized lid picker-upper. I had to turn some of the jars on their side in the water bath because the stock pot wasn’t quite tall enough to cover them in water, but it didn’t seem to make any difference to the final product, which is DELICIOUS. Pure peach flavour, not too sweet… yum. Make this and eat it on toast – or better yet, banana bread ;).
Smitten Peach Butter
Recipe from smitten kitchen. Makes about 4 cups – I ended up with three half-pint jars and two slightly smaller jars. If you don’t want to can this, you could always freeze it à la freezer jam. To purée the peaches, you can use a food mill if you have one (in which case, skip the peeling/blanching steps and leave the skin on the peaches, then process through the food mill after they have simmered into softness) or you can use an immersion blender, which is what I did. It means you have to peel the peaches but it’s not hard, I promise!
For this recipe, you will need:
4 lbs peaches (about 7 or 8 peaches)
2 cups granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon
To peel the peaches, cut an X in the bottom of each peach. Submerge the peaches in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then remove to a bowl of cool water for about 1 minute. Peel off the skins – they should come off fairly easily. When your peaches are naked, pit them and cut into eight pieces (cut into quarters, then cut each quarter in half lengthwise). Place them in a large pot with 1 cup of water. Bring the peaches and water to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure all the pieces cook evenly, until the peaches are tender, 20-30 minutes. When the peach chunks can be easily squished with a wooden spoon against the side of the pot, remove the pot from the heat and purée the peaches with an immersion blender until very smooth. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir. Return the pot to the heat and bring to a vigorous simmer. Let the peach purée bubble happily, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks on the bottom of the pot, until it is thick and deeply peach-coloured and the bubbles start to look syrupy. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (or more). I knew it was done when a ribbon of purée sort of held its shape for a few seconds when drizzled on top of the rest of the butter. When the peach butter is done, either can it (instructions below) or let it cool, then store in airtight containers in the fridge (up to 2 weeks) or freezer.
To can the peach butter:
I got my canning tips from Canadian Living. If you’re a newbie canner like I am, definitely read up on the proper canning procedure – it’s a science and can be dangerous if done improperly. Nobody likes botulism poisoning! Also check out Food in Jars for great canning advice and recipes.
Sterilize 4-5 half-pint canning jars by boiling them in a water bath for 10 minutes. Divide the hot peach butter between the jars, leaving about 1 cm of head space. Wipe the jar rims and top each with a canning lid, then screw on the ring and tighten. Process in a boiling water bath (water covering the jars by at least 1 inch) for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and let them cool completely (overnight) on a towel. Listen for the “ping” of the jars sealing as they cool (this is very satisfying!). Store any jars that don’t seal properly in the fridge and eat them first. Store the sealed jars in a dark cupboard at room temperature.