I have been doing a bit of canning this harvest season. Playing around a bit with some fruit butters and apple sauce as well as making baby food. It has been very enjoyable. I figured that I would post a few photos of the process as well as the recipe. This may lead to a similar treatment for some of my other recipes.
Mmm, peach butter starts with fresh peaches. I picked up these peaches at my local Farmer’s Market. I have used Early Alberta peaches for my canning and love them, but I was too late for Early Albertas this batch. I picked up these Angelas and am very pleased. They are a bit more tart than the Early Albertas. Good stuff. For this recipe I used about 1/4 of a bushel of peaches.
Mmm, fresh peaches.
The first step is to remove the skins from the peaches. The easiest way to do this is to blanch them for about 30 seconds. To do this get a largish pot of boiling water and toss in a few peaches. Wait for 30 seconds and remove them from the pot of boiling water into a sink of cold water. I then remove the skin (which is very easy to do when the peach is ripe and the peach has been blanched), half the peach, remove the pit, and cut the peach into medium sized chunks into my slow cooker. When the slow cooker is mostly full (not too full or the slow cooker will overflow and create an annoying mess…don’t ask how I know this fact), I turn it on high for about an hour.
Peaches in the pot!
After an hour or so, I turn the temperature of the slow cooker down to low and stir the peaches to make sure they don’t stick to the sides or anything. Wait for another 3-4 hours when the juice should start manifesting itself and give the peaches another stir.
Peaches releasing their juice…yummy.
I then wait about 3-4 more hours and blend the peaches with my hand mixer to create a very smooth peach butter.
Blending the peaches.
The blended butter.
At this point the butter can really be done at any time. The longer it cooks the less watery it will be. My preference is to remove the lid and let it go for another 4-6 hours depending on my mood. Once I decide that the peach butter is done I add a few spices. It depends on the variety of peaches and personal taste, but I add the spices slowly because you can’t remove spices you have already added. To this batch I added about 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 t of cinnamon, and 1/2 t of cloves.
Finished in the pot.
Once it tastes just right, I start filling up pint jars with the hot butter. The literature seems to indicate that you should leave about 1/4 inch of headroom (space between the top of the bottle and the butter). Clean up the mess on the bottle and cap it.
Peach butter in the bottle.
Peaches are acidic enough to process with a hot bath canner. Yes, pint bottles don’t exactly fit very well in the rack, but that is how it goes. My mother said that she hasn’t ever found a rack that works well for pints. If someone knows where I could get one I would appreciate knowing. Anyway, I fill the pot with enough water that the bottles will be covered by an inch or two water when they are submerged. I wait until the water is 180 degrees F (simmering with steam) and add the bottles. If I need to add more water, I add some boiling water at this point. I wait until the water boils and then start the timer for 20 minutes (this time varies with altitude, so you should check out a canning guide to verify the proper time).
Bottles in the pot.
When the time is up I remove the bottles from the pot and wait for them to seal. All done! This recipe yielded 6 pints for me. We are very excited to use the peach butter. So far we have put it on our bagels in the morning, sandwiches for lunch, breakfast crepes, and I am sure we will find a number of other uses. Good stuff!
1/4 bushel of fresh peaches
2/3 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
Remove the skins from the peaches, cut them into medium sized chunks, and put them in the slow cooker. Turn on the slow cooker to high for 1 hour. Stir the peaches and decrease the slow cooker heat to low. Let cook for 3-4 hours on low. Stir the peaches again. Let cook for another 3-4 hours. Blend the peaches using a hand blender. Let the peach butter cook until it is the desired consistency (potentially another 4-6 hours). Add the sugar and spices. Process the butter according to your preference (bottle, freeze, etc.).