Peach Butter…the reason I have to do aerobics

9 Dec

I am flat out addicted to butters, jams, spreads and anything else that contains half a bag of sugar. I joke about Oreos helping me to beat my “mommy stress”. But the honest truth is that I sometimes can’t wait to get the kiddos to bed and pop some homemade bread in the toaster, just to spread it with real butter and homemade preserves.

Heaven.

If I do that while the kiddos are awake, they can hear the toaster and come running. Even if I sneak it to my closet and close the door….

While I’ve eaten all but one jar of the preserves I’ve but up this summer, I am seriously contemplating taking some frozen fruit from the store and making some more homemade peach butter…..

Here’s the recipe:

Cocklebur Junction Peach Butter — four pint jars

  • 4 1/2 lbs. peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups granulated sugar

I usually make this when peaches are in season — and therefore cheap and juicy. To peel your peaches, simply put them in boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer to a icey bowl of water. Let them cool for a few minutes, then slip the skins right off of them. This is messy. It’s slimy. And you’re going to smell like peaches. But soooo worth it. Be careful cutting up the slippery peaches.

In a large stainless steel pot, combine your peaches, water, zest and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let boil gently, stirring every once in a while, until the peaches are tender. That takes about 20 minutes. Use the in-between time to prepare you canner, jars and lids.

Transfer the peaches to a food processor and puree until it is all smooth. I do this in a few small batches, dumping the smooth peaches into another clean, large pot.

Now add your sugar to the peach puree. Stir well with a really long spoon. Bring the peach mix to a boil over medium-high heat. Never stop stirring. I mean this. Put the phone next to you on the counter. Make sure the kiddos are in bed. NEVER stop stirring. You will get hot. You will get tired. But you will stir.

You are going to stir your arm off. Last time I did this it took over an hour. It all depends on the weather, humidity and a lot of other factors. A few months ago, I had to stop for an emergency in the middle of it, so I turned off the burner. Dealt with the kiddo involved. And then came back and started back up again. It worked out fine. Remember, sugar burns very easily. And once it’s scorched — it’s scorched.  Just know that you are going to be there for a while.

Your peach butter will be done when it begins to hold its shape on a spoon. Okay, that means nothing to me. So here’s how I check it. Put a plate in the freezer. I use a large dinner plate, because I will test and test and test due to lack of patience. To test, you simply spoon a little peach butter onto the plate. When the liquid does not separate and create a ring of liquid around the butter, you are ready to can! It won’t have the exact same consistency as apple butter, but it should be thick.

Ladle the hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 of room at the top of the jar. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean. Put the lid on and screw down the rim to fingertip tight.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath with the lid on the canner. Then simply take the lid off, wait five minutes and remove the jars to cool.

Clean your pots and bake some biscuits, because I’m sure you are like me and can’t wait to try it out!

Word of warning….I’ve done this with the kiddos running around. That doesn’t work out so well. Sugar burns horribly. Everything you deal with is boiling. I’ve canned every year without incident, but this year there was a small incident. And only one incident can scar a child for life. In order to save Bailey from a boiling water spill, I ended up with a nice scar on my arm. So it’s better to wait for the kiddos to go to bed or out to do chores with dad before starting this.

I think I’ll see how much it costs to buy that many frozen peaches. Hmmmm….if I try it, I’ll post pictures and let you know how it works out.

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