Peach Butter 2013

Happy Friday, folks! šŸ™‚
My local Pride festival kicks off this weekend (this evening, I believe), so my calendar is getting busy. None the less, I’m also knee-deep (well, shin deep…) in fruit that needs to be processed, so today is going to be another cooking and crafting day chez Meliad.
 
A friend of mine lives out in the country, where she has a number of fruit trees (mostly hawthorn and crab apple, but also two sweet apples, a service berry, and the beginnings of a really great black raspberry patch). The apples are getting ripe, so she sent my lovely wife – who was out helping her build a porch roof – home last night with a back pack full of fruit.
She will be getting a thank-you jar of apple butter when this is all done. šŸ˜‰
 
However, I’m not doing the apple butter just yet. I’ve had a dozen Niagara-area peaches (which were rock hard when I brought them home) sitting in a paper bag on top of the fridge, with an apple thrown in for good measure. I pulled them out today and they were definitely ripe – in a few cases, slightly too far past ripe – and ready to be stewed into peach butter.
So that’s what I’m making right now.
 

As you may recall, I made peach butter last year. It’s delicious, and (due to having far less pectin than apples) it’s much, much easier to spoon/spread than apple butter tends to be[1].
 
This year, my recipe is a little different:
 
 
~*~
 
INGREDIENTS
 
12 large peaches – washed, pitted, and diced (not peeled)
 
1/4 C maple syrup
1/4 C granulated sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (a white balsamic vinegar would be beautiful here, too)
1/4 C water (to help get the sugar out of the bottom of the measuring cup)
 
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp wiskey
1 tsp each: ground ginger, ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
1) Put everything in a crock pot
2) Turn the crock pot on to “high”
3) Cook for an hour, then reduce to “low” to avoid having anything burn to the sides of the crock pot
4) Cook for a further 8 hours
5) You may wish to go at it with an imersion blender at this time, though it’s not strictly required
6) Sterilize three or four 1C mason jars (plus lids and rings) in a boiling water bath
7) Scoop the peach butter into the hot jars, with the help of a wide-mouth funnel
8) Cap the jars and process them, upside down, in a boiling water bath for a good 20 minutes[1]
9) Allow to cool, listening for the “plunk” as the lids seal. Then store in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use. (Refridgerate after opening).
 
 
~*~
 
So there you have it: Peach Butter 2013.
 
It’s funny. I’m making far fewer preserves this year, though I’m not sure why. Part of it, maybe, is that I haven’t got my hands on a heap of tomatoes yet[2] and, thus, haven’t spent two days canning whole tomatoes and sauces. But I think it’s more that (a) I’ve been freezing a lot of stuff – for a given value of “a lot” that includes a few litres of fruit and a few bouquets of chard and spinach and wild greens, and (b) I’ve only made one set of preserves for use as gifts.
 
Yeah, that’s kind of the big one.
 
I’ve got eight one-cup jars of vanilla-serviceberry jam lined up and ready to be handed out once Secular Xmas rolls around, but it’s nowhere near the amount of chutneys, jams, and pickles that I’ve normally (for a given value of “normally” that includes the last two years or so) go put up by this time of year.
 
It feels weird.
 
Anyway. I’ve got some dishes to do, and a chisel/screw-driver to locate, so that I can make up my next batch of tea-lights. I’ve also got another PBP13 post to get off the ground. So, without further ado, I’m off. šŸ™‚
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Fruit butters need to be processed for a lot longer than jam ā€“ probably because the pH is higher (less acidic) since there’s less sugar involved.
 
[2] Is it just me, or are the farmers’ market tomatoes kind of mealy and blah this year?

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