I love peaches. Especially ripe just off the tree peaches. Those are the best. About 10 minutes from my house there is a u-pick orchard full of these beautiful, juicy, delectable palmfuls of fleshy goodness. Unfortunately, once picked, they really don't seem to last long enough. That of course is where my new love for canning kicks in.
This past week, I've canned about 12 pints of peaches in a light syrup.
I've frozen several pounds of peaches for some nice smoothies or peach cobblers later this year.
I've made some really delicious peach butter.
As well as some jam, of course, was whipped up as well. Although I love peaches plain, I think my favorite thing that was done with the peaches was the peach butter. It came out perfectly! The only change I think I may make the next time around is possibly adding some vanilla bean to it. It is so good, I could almost eat it out of the jar by itself.
**8/17/12 - I made the peach butter and peach jelly with vanilla bean the other day.... AMAZING! The vanilla adds some real depth to the jelly/butter!**
Here's the recipe for the peach butter, if you want to give it a whirl, trust me, it is worth the effort!
slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
4 lbs. peaches
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon
1 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
Cut a small "x" in the bottom of each peach. Dip each peach into a pot of boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds, and then into a bowl of cold water for a minute. The peels should slide right off (as long as the peaches are completely ripe).
Halve your peaches and remove the pits, then cut each half into quarters. Place peach chunks and water in a large bowl and bring to a boil. Simmer until peaches are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Once cooked, puree in a blender or food processor until it is the consistency you prefer. (Be super careful on this step, the mixture is very hot!)
Return the peaches to the large pot, add the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and bring to a good simmer/gentle boil, cooking 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 dissolving into the pot, it is done. You can also dollop a spoonful onto a cold plate. If no water forms a ring around it within a few minutes, it is done. Others use a spoon; if the butter remains rounded on a spoon for two minutes, it is done. You can also check the pot itself; the butter is usually done when a wooden spoon leaves a clear train when scraped across the bottom.
If you are canning it, follow the normal canning procedures. The processing time for these is 10 minutes. Otherwise, let the butter cool and put it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good for at least two weeks.
Makes approx. 4 cups
**Linking this up over with the Mandatory Mooch's Tasty Thursday. Also over at the Six Sister's Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday. Go ahead and check out some of the delicious things posted over there**
(On a completely non-peach related note, I now have a facebook page, so go ahead, follow me on facebook)