Autumn is just around the corner and peaches are nearing the end of their season. I snagged a deal last week on organic peaches on sale for $1.99 a pound. I bought 6 pounds and made up some sweet, spiced peach butter. In the depths of winter there’s nothing like opening a jar of this delicious spread and enjoying a little hint of summer to come.
Fruit butters take a little time but they are easy to make and so homey and delicious. They use less sugar than jams and preserves and they’re a lot more forgiving. You have to spend a few hours cooking them down but it’s easier to tell when they’re ready to can. You don’t need to use a thermometer or figure out what the jelling point is.
Home canning is easier than you think. You need some equipment but it’s not expensive to tool up and once you start canning your own homemade jams, preserves and butters you won’t go back to store bought. I promise. My friend is bringing me 20 pounds of apples from Maine this week so, apple butter is up next!
This is a great resource to get you started, FreshPreserving.com It’s the official site of the Ball and Kerr jar makers. For a detailed look at home canning, go here: The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning Also, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a great resource.
Start with 6 pounds of ripe peaches.
Slice them up but don’t peel. Toss them in a big pot with maybe a cup of water and bring to a boil.
When they’re nice and soft, use an immersion blender to puree. Or, you can use a blender and do it in batches. To me, the immersion blender is a kitchen essential. Have you ever pureed hot soup in a blender only to have the top shoot off and hot soup fly all over you? Yeah. Me neither.
Beautiful peach puree. You can do this one day and refrigerate and finish the next day if you like.
Add 2 or 3 cups sugar to the puree. It will depend on the how sweet the peaches are and how sweet you like your butter to taste. I used 2 1/2 cups.
Add spices. Cinnamon, ground cloves and and 1/2 a freshly grated nutmeg. Also, add the juice of a lemon.
This is a splatter screen on the pot of peach butter. It will bubble and spit a lot so you want to invest in a splatter screen. You can’t use a pot lid because you need the liquid to evaporate over several hours.
Peach butter ready to can.
Ladle the hot peach butter into the hot jars. Using a canning funnel makes it so much easier and neater.
Remove the air bubbles from the jar.
Wipe the rim with a damp paper towel.
Screw on your two piece lids.
Place your hot jar in the canner.
Repeat with all of your jars. Now the canner is ready to go.
Done and cooling.
So spicy and delicious!
Peach Butter – Ingredients
Yield: 7 or 8 half pints
- 6 pounds organic peaches
- 2 or 3 cups organic cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 of a ground nutmeg or 1 tablespoon
- Juice of a lemon
Peach Butter – Method
- Remove the pits from your peaches and cut into chunks or slices. Put them in a big, heavy pot. Add about a cup of water and cook them until they are quite soft. Puree the peaches with an immersion blender or use a regular blender in batches, very carefully!
- At this point, you can refrigerate the puree for a day or two if you don’t have enough time to finish the butter.
- Now you will begin cooking the puree down into butter. Add the sugar, spices and lemon juice and put your pot on the lowest heat setting. It’s going to take anywhere from 2 – 5 hours to cook it down. It will depend on your stove and the size of your pot. The bigger the pot with more surface area, the quicker the moisture will evaporate.
- Stir every 15 minutes or so. It may begin to stick on the bottom a little bit. Use a splatter screen because it will sputter and bubble a lot.
- While it’s cooking and the butter is cooking down, get your jars and canner ready. This site will give you some canning basics: Simple Bites
- Once the butter becomes thick and spreadable, begin to fill your hot jars, one at a time. Remove air bubbles,wipe rim of jar and put on the lid.
- Place hot jar in canner. Repeat with each jar. Process for 15 minutes. Start timing when water begins to boil.
- When done, remove jars from canner and place on towel lined countertop. Let them cool completely. Remove the rings and lift the jars by the lids. If it’s a good seal, they will not move. Store in a cool, dark place. They will last for about 6 months. Make sure to label and date the jars.
- Some folks like to make fruit butters in the crock pot. It will take about 8 hours. Put your puree into the crock pot with the other ingredients and let it cook down overnight or while you’re working. Don’t go longer than 8 hours. Check it occasionally.
- You don’t have to use sugar but it will help to preserve the product and give it a longer shelf life.
- Use peach butter as a delicious spread on toast or muffins or with a mild cheese. Also works great as an accompaniment to roast pork or ham.