Tuesday, September 13, 2011

@#$% Jam...nope...Butter?!?

Homemade peach butter.  What is it?  It sounds like you take a hunk of butter and mix some peaches in it and spread it on toast.  Sounds good if you ask me...but nope, it's basically jam.  You cook it for a long...let me repeat...LONG time so that it cooks out most of the liquid and it gets really thick and the flavor is really concentrated.  No pectin needed.

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen I had to try it.  I had wanted to make peach jam this season and this sounded fun.  I am all for trying new things.  So I got my box of peaches, yes I said box and set out to conquer this new canning delicacy.  I referred to her recipe as well as my Ball Blue Book guide to preserving canning recipe book...but that one ticks me off because it tells me not to use my steam canner...which then sends me into a tizzy that I am going to kill my family off with botulism...which then has my Mom reminding me that she has canned for upteen years using a steam canner, her mom used a steam canner and her mom's mom used a steam canner so simmer down now!  Deep breath.  Okay...secretly look up pressure canners on amazon.com and covet them and think about when I will have riches again and will buy one.  Ahem...

So, peach butter.  I doubled the recipe which turned into a fiasco because Smitten Kitchen said it takes ohhhhh....40 minutes max to simmer it down to the appropriate thickness.  Bull.  It took me almost 3 hours and that's just because I decided to give up getting the appropriate thickness and kept turning my temperature up hoping for a faster reduction.  As my pot's contents got lesser and lesser from it slowly being put in jars, the remaining product eventually got there....so some will be thicker than others.  Oh well.

Take 4 to 4.5 lbs of ripe peaches and 4 C. sugar and 1/2 C. water
Really, the easiest thing to do would be to check out Smitten Kitchen, I referenced her above and find her post on peach butter, but I'll give you the quick version here.

**********The thing you need to know about canning is...well there are three things that I feel are most important. ***********

1- READ THE INSTRUCTIONS COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU BEGIN.  I can't tell you how many times I have messed up a step because I think the sugar should go immediately in the fruit...it doesn't.  READ FIRST!

 2- The 7 P's!  Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance (for those of you who didn't know the 7 P's).  Have all your supplies ready.  Pre-measure things.  Have your canning gear ready to go.  Fill things with water and get them boiling.  Because you just know you're going to want to do something and you're going to have to go find it, because canning crap is usually at the bottom of a pile in your garage or you have to wait for water to boil.  Not fun.  Be ready.

3-Have all your jars and twist-on lids already washed.  Nothing killed an attempt at canning faster than jars that have been sitting in a cupboard for a year. This really is part of the 7 P's, but felt it was important enough that it deserved a specific mention.

Here's my work set up just so you get an idea...

Here is my bowl full of sliced peaches and the box my canning jars were in to hold my peaches that are waiting to go in the boiling water and to hold the pits and be thrown away later.  No time to throw a pit away in the middle of canning.  I have set these in between my sink and my stove.  So on my stove I have a large pot of boiling water and in my sink I have...

A bowl that is directly under a slight stream of cold water that is continuously running...don't tell me not to waste water.  It kept the water cool so I could handle my peaches, it was just a tiny stream and it was available for me to wash my hands whenever I needed to.  That's my paring knife waiting to chop peaches and i was just tossing the skins in the sink to be later dealt with.

Here are the instructions....
Peach Butter

-Cut an X in the bottom of each peach. 
-Toss in pot of boiling water for 30 seconds.
-Take from boiling water and plunge in cold water for a minute or so.
-The peach skins can be pulled right off.
-Slice the peaches, remove the pit and toss in a pot
-Add 1/2 C. water.  Simmer until soft.
-Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth (Ball says not to liquefy...but I'm pretty sure mine were mostly liquefied by the time I was done).
-Add sugar.  And the juice from 2 lemons.
-Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon (this is what Ball says again...and I don't know what round up on a spoon means.  According to Smitten Kitchen you should be able to put some peach butter on your spoon and it won't slide off for 2 minutes...or if you drizzle a ribbon back into the pot, it won't immediately get mixed in, it'll be visible for a bit).
-Put your canning jars in a 200 F oven (make sure to put them on a cookie sheet, so they don't tip over and are easier to remove...and when you remove each jar, use a set of tongs or something.  200 F is still hot!)
-In the bottom of each jar, put 1 tsp lemon juice.  This is a "just in case" move.  Ball doesn't say to do it, but I want my canned products to be as safe as possible and felt a little added acid was a good thing.
-Ladle in Peach butter, leaving 1/2" space at top, top with lids and then process for the appropriate amount of time.

Yes that's the raspberry jam I made the day prior.  It has been a canning kind of week.

Get canning, it's a trip back in time and worth it.  I promise.

1 comment:

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