Why is peach butter the perfect choice for masses of peaches?
- No blanching
- No peeling
- No pectin
- No measurements
- No way to mess this up
Another bonus is that you choose the amount of sugar. This one is super easy, hard to mess up and delicious.
Yes. I am the peach goddess. It’s funny. We have a peach grove on our property….. well, our neighbors have a huge peach grove on their property that I have access to. I have 6 peach trees.
It’s kinda complicated. We bought our farm with some of our best friends. The entire property is 47 acres. We each have half. There was a huge peach grove (think over 150 peach trees) on the land when we bought it. It was a lot.
The grove is old and mature and on it’s last leg. Sources around here say that a peach tree is good for 15-20 years. Our grove was over 20 years old when we bought it & that was over 10 years ago. So – old, old peach trees.
Since the peach trees were on their last leg, we decided we liked cows more than peaches. It was unanimous that we would bulldoze all the peaches, fence in the land & get some milk cows.
In no time we knocked down all our peach trees, had a giant bonfire, all inhaled poison ivy & went to the emergency room the next day.
This is another story entirely, but I’m sure you want to hear it.
We awoke the next morning with poison ivy popping up in places we didn’t know people could have poison ivy. ALL of us except for our oldest son were breaking out in random patches of itchiness (not fair). We took benedryl. We used ivyrest. We used topical creams. We tried to figure out how we all got into so much stinkin poison ivy. It wasn’t long before it dawned on us that we had INHALED the poison ivy from the peach-grove bonfire. Oh Boy. How do you stop poison ivy that you inhaled into your lungs?
It’s not pretty.
Our youngest daughter had it the worst, one side of her face was covered in it and it was spreading to her eye.
Without further adieu, we put an extreme hault to life, school, work and pretty much anything else so we could drag our splotchy, blistery, itchy, miserable family to the emergency room for something FAST.
The doctor was quick to diagnose us and have a tray shots sent to the small examining room that our family of 6 was currently inhabiting.
We all got the biggest steroid shot in our butts you’ve ever seen.
It was the most pain I’ve ever experienced in a 30 second time frame. And, I’ve had 4 children.
One by one we dropped our drawers and submitted to the unspeakable pain in our butts so the poison ivy catastrophe could be stopped.
When it came time for my oldest daughter (she was 9 or 10 at the time) to get her butt injection she said, “Can everyone leave so I can get my shot?” To this DH promptly replied, “Pull down your pants.”
No. You get no privacy.
No. You get no dignity.
Yes, we all just showed our upper buttock area to the doc, nurse and our entire family.
No, you will not be excused from the fun.
Pull down your pants.
So, she did & we were all sufficiently medicated to battle the poison-ivy lung-epidemic.
As we were walking down the hall to leave, our youngest daughter said, “Doctor Tiffany has seen all our underpants.”
Uhhhh. Yeah…. and then some.
So, we were better in a few days and my oldest daughter wasn’t too traumatized (I think).
We loved having the peaches and weren’t ready for the peach funtimes to end so we planted 6 more peach trees. We also planted 6 pear and 6 apple trees.
Our neighbors didn’t knock down all their peach trees – they still have about 70 trees. They are planning to get rid of the old and plant some new ones as well, so the peach grove is a moving target that keeps evolving. If you read other posts here on my blog where I say that have 100 peach trees, 150 peach trees or 170 peach trees – they are all true. I’m not confused, drunk or lying. It’s just that we keep tearing out the old decrepit trees and planting shiny, new baby ones. The number is constantly changing.
Thanks to our neighbors, we are still able to get more peaches than any small country could eat in a year. There are literally thousands of them.
This means that I know how to process a peach 60 ways from Sunday.
Today I’m going to show you how to make peach butter.
Mamaw (my dear friend who teaches me all things old fashioned & old time) taught me how to make peach butter. You won’t find her recipe, technique or method anywhere. Not in magazines or books. Not at the library. Not on the internet. Trust me, I tried. Maybe she does it wrong – no one else seems to be doing it her way (but me). Her peach butter is amazing, so I’m gonna keep making it the way she taught me.
And you can too!
What is peach butter?
If you’ve had apple butter, then you know what peach butter is probably gonna be like. It’s not a jelly. It’s not a jam. It’ not a preserve. It’s not a conserve. It’s peach butter. It is made with the entire fruit, except for the pit. It is reduced to a thick, sweet, gelatinous spread that is fabulous on biscuits, toast, english muffins, rolls and waffles. It makes a mean BBQ sauce. Use it as a glaze over duck or pork tenderloin, and it will turn into a caramelized, savory, sweet perfect vacation for your mouth.
I do all sorts of wonderful things with peach butter.
Let’s head to the grove & pick!
It is just such a beautiful sight. It is almost maddening. There are just so many.
Everyone likes to pick peaches. I give all the kids buckets to fill & off we go.
There is no secret. It’s not complicated. Just grab the peaches & put them into the container.
Peach Butter Step 1 – Ripe Peaches
Unfortunately, if you just picked your peaches, you probably won’t be making any preserves, jelly, jam or butter today. They really need to ripen for a couple days on your kitchen counter to make the sweetest, peach goods.
I wait until they are super soft to the touch & almost rotten. This will produce the sweetest peach butter. When Mamaw comes out to pick peaches for peach butter she doesn’t even pick them off the trees.
Nope. For her peach butter she picks peaches off the ground. The ground. Where the peaches are rotting, crawling with ants, filled with bees and getting stepped on. She swears that the bruised overripe peaches make the best butter. I think she’s right.
So, either pick the peaches off the ground and make peach butter today, or pick them off the tree and wait. If your peaches aren’t super soft you really should wait. You’ll be happy you did.
Now that we have super ripe peaches we’re gonna make them into peach butter.
Here’s what we are going to do to turn these peaches into peach butter:
- Wash & Remove Pits
- Smash them up a bit
- Sweeten, Simmer & Puree with a food wand
- Simmer some more
- Process in cans
Peach Butter Step 2 – Wash
I just rolled them all into my giant sink & washed them with soapy water.
To remove the pit- slice all the way around the peach. Hold each side and give a twist (just like you would open an avocado). The peach will easily split in 2. Pop out the pit.
Once all the peaches are pit-free toss them into a heavy bottomed pot.
Peach Butter Step 3 – Mash
Time to get your hands into this mess.
Wash yourself up to your shoulders because if you are making a batch as large as I am you are going to be scuba diving in your stock pot.
There’s no wrong way to do this. Just dive in and start squishing. The goal is to turn all the peach halves into peach mush. The stove is not on. The pot is not hot. The peaches are not hot.
Let’s talk measurements for just a minute.
Because this concoction cooks “down” you are going to end up with quite a bit less than you start with. It may look like I made Waaaaaaaaay too much and there are not enough cans in the world to hold it all, but this is not the case. It takes 7-9 peaches to make 1 pint of peach butter.
Yup – 7-9 peaches will only net you a tiny pint jar of peach butter – so the more the merrier!
If you want to fill 12 pint jars you’re going to start with somewhere around 100 peaches.
Squish, Squash, Squirt. Just keep squishing until you can’t find any more large hunks of peach.
Now that we have them mashed to mush, we’re going to get things cooking.
Turn your burner on medium to medium-high.
Peach Butter Step 4 – Sweeten
As things are warming, stir in some sugar. This is completely to your taste, so if you want it sweet, go big. If you are on a diet, go small. Whatever you want is the right amount of sugar. I do know that sugar does help food to preserve, so you are going to want to add some.
If you started with 100 peaches and want your peach butter nice and sweet add 7-8 cups of sugar (cane juice crystals). That’s what I did and it’s fabulous.
Then I added 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice because I like that citrus zing. Yum! The lemon juice is optional -so do whatever feels right to you.
Get everything simmering & when it begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium. Peaches need to be simmered pretty low so they don’t burn and stick and scorch.
Stir often to prevent sticking.
Peach Butter Step 5 – Puree
Keep it simmering.
See that foamy stuff on top – we want to skim that off.
Peach Butter Step 6 – Skim
Use a big spoon to skim off the foam and toss it. I fed it to some happy chickens.
Keep simmering until the peach butter reaches the gelling point.
What the heck is a “gelling point?” you ask. The gelling point is the point where once the liquid is cool it will be jelly. It is not squashed peach. It is not peach puree. It is not peach-sauce. It is jelly.
There are 2 ways to turn fruit & sugar into jelly.
- Add pectin (liquid or powder) and boil for 1 minute – and you’re done.
- Cook it until it reaches “the gelling point.” In other words, cook it until it is jelly.
Cool eh? So, if you don’t have any pectin. Or if you don’t want to use any pectin. Or your husband is allergic to pectin because the world puts corn in everything. You can still have jelly. Many preserved goods call for this method.
How can you tell when you have arrived at this coveted place called the gelling point? There are a couple ways:
- The liquid sheets off the back of a spoon. It doesn’t run off quickly. It doesn’t drip off. It coats, covers and sticks to the back of the spoon before running off; leaving a coating of jelly on the back of the spoon.
- When you drop some into a bowl and allow to cool (yes, I shove it in the freezer for 1 minute) you can see it is jelly.
Once your peach butter has reached the gelling point it’s time to get this into some jars.
Peach Butter Step 7 – Can
Remove the peach butter from the heat and grab some hot sanitized jars.
TIP: I shove all my lids, rings & jars in the dishwasher on “sanitize.” When I am ready to fill the jars I pull them out of the dishwasher. They are screaming hot and perfectly sanitized.
My kids are amazing in a kitchen and oh so helpful. I could never do everything I do if it weren’t for their help.
Ladle the hot liquid into the hot jars.
Adjust 2 piece rings/lids & process (1/2 pints or pints) in a hot water bath for 10 mintues. If you are new to canning here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to can using the hot water bath method.
Summer in a jar.
These make great Christmas gifts too!