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Friday, August 17, 2012

Peach Butter - vegan, gluten free, & free of just about everything else

Peach Butter

Last year at this time, I bought 20 pounds of peaches and then discovered that Mr Official Taster didn't like them. Well, I learned my lesson, and last week at the farmers market I only bought 10 pounds. This week I switched it up and got 10 pounds of nectarines instead.


Peach Butter

I've pretty much been eating peaches morning, noon, and night, and, no, I'm not really exaggerating. Mostly, I eat them as-is, but they're also a welcome addition to my oatmeal and delicious in muffins. I wanted to make something with them to save the peachiness till later, but I didn't want more jam.

While wasting time online researching recipes, I found Smitten Kitchen's peach butter. Since I was a kid, I've loved fruit butters, so this certainly caught my attention. Deb uses half the sugar that the classic Ball book prescribes. The Ball book calls for 1 cup of sugar per pound of what is already a very sweet fruit. I went with less sugar, and I'm really glad I did. This peach butter is still a very sweet spread, and I can't even imagine it with twice the sugar.

Peach Butter

Related: Peach Pie with Apple Crumble, Peach Plum Crisp, Peach Cake, Peach Streusel Muffins

Need cute labels? Make your own, or try one of the solutions I've rounded up here or on Pinterest.

Peach Butter - vegan, gluten free, & free of just about everything else
adapted, hardly at all, from Smitten Kitchen
A food mill is optional, but helpful. I used a hand-me-down from my mom, but Deb recommends Oxo's. I think this tastiness will be welcomed as gifts during the holidays (or anytime, really), especially if you present it along with some fresh bread.

Yield: 7-8 8oz jars

4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) peaches (about 9)
1 cup (237 ml) water
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon (2 Tbsp)

The peaches need to be peeled at some point in this process. You have a couple of choices.

Without a food mill: 

Option A) peel peaches with a paring knife. 

Option B) 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 keep reading.)

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. I kept my pot covered, thinking it would help the peaches break down. I have no idea if this is true or not, so cover or not as you like. Simmer until peaches are tender, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. 

At this point, if you have a food mill, run them through it to puree them and remove the skins. If you already peeled your peaches in Option A or B — you can puree them in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender. I like my fruit butters quite smooth, but leave some chunks if you prefer.

Return the peach puree to your large pot, add the sugar and lemon juice and bring the mixture to a good strong simmer/gentle boil. Cover if necessary to get them to a boil faster, but do NOT get distracted by a book in the other room. (and no, I don't want to talk about it. Yes, it caused a big mess) Cook 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 masses risk 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.

If you’re not canning it, allow it to cool completely, and then keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good for at least two weeks.

To can your peach butter: pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4-inch (6mm) head space. Wipe the rims clean. Seal according to manufacturer's directions. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm definitely going to have to get my hands on some of this! I bet it would be the best possible thing on AM oatmeal.

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  2. I'm definitely going to try this one. I'm canning most of my holiday gifts this year.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Katie! I've also been canning with an eye on the holidays. I'm considering making another batch of this with even less sugar. What else have you made?

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    2. I just started so all I have for the holidays so far is a batch of apple-pear jam. I have berries in the freezer for blueberry-peach jam this weekend. I did 6-ish quarts of dill pickles a couple of weeks ago.

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    3. sounds like a great assortment! happy canning :)

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