It's summertime here in Georgia and you know what that means...!!
Peaches! These came from my tree and I can't possibly eat them all! What better way to preserve that peachy goodness than to make peach butter?
Start by peeling and pitting about 5 lbs of peaches.
There are a couple of different ways to go about peeling a peach. Some people use the "blanch and peel" method, but I've never been able to get it to work properly.
If you want more info on that method, Google "How to peel a peach" cause I suck at it.
It might not be popular, but I find that you can't beat the humble vegetable peeler. You do not want to spend hours blanching and peeling 5 lbs of peaches. Trust me on this.
Ever wondered what the inside of a peach stone looked like? One GIANT peach seed! I just thought this was really cool and had to share.
Watch out for larvae. Probably not a problem if you buy them from a store or even a Farmer's Market, but these came from a tree in my backyard. Just be aware if you pick your own...
In the words of Alton Brown, that is NOT good eats. Some people will cut out the larvae and the brown flesh and still use what's good. I don't. This peach will feed the birds (or the wasps...).
Cut up your peeled, pitted peaches into large chunks.
Toss into a large pot. Add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and allow to cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes. Stir periodically to make sure none of your peaches stick to the bottom.
When your peaches are all soft and mushy, they're done. Remove from heat or just turn off the stove eye if you're using gas.
Time to break out that stick blender you bought and then realized you didn't really need because you all ready had food processing equipment.
What? No one else did that? If you don't own a stick blender, dump the whole mess into a food processor or regular blender. Don't be hasty with this step. You don't want lumps (or maybe you do...)
Warning: This stuff at this point is hot. And sticky. This, in general, is a bad combination. Be careful.
You want a smooth consistency with no lumps.
At this point, you can add your cinnamon and vanilla. Or you can continue on without it. Either way, this is good stuff. Plain peach butter tastes like summer.
I added cinnamon to mine. Return your pureed peaches to the stove and bring to a simmer on low for 30-45 minutes. You must stir frequently to prevent burning. Don't even bother leaving the kitchen.
The amount of time you simmer will depend on the water content of your peaches. More water=more cooking time. Set a timer. If your peaches are really watery, you might require an hour.
What do you do when you're trapped next to the stove for 30 minutes? Catch up on Downton Abbey!
As the water evaporates, your peaches will thicken and the bubbles in your pot will become very gloopy. The mixture will reduce down significantly.
If you notice some lumps you missed, you can purée a little further with your stick blender or pick them out. Some people leave them. I usually find one piece of peach I missed.
This makes enough for about four and a-half 8 oz. Mason jars of peach butter. Ladle your peach butter into jars and process to seal.
Use on toast, bagels, ice cream, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...the list is pretty endless.