If you love apple butter, you’ll adore this Peach Butter recipe. Made with peaches at the peak of ripeness, you’ll want smother this all over toast, croissants, or English muffins.
I feel like I’ve been on a tear with canning this summer and I honestly don’t see an end in sight. It really has been one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday afternoon this summer and especially because Kyle works nearly every Saturday, I don’t feel distracted or rushed to finish my canning projects.
I get to work methodically through the cooking and preserving process and then squeal with joy at that first “POP!” after the jars come out of the water bath.
And yes, I really do squeal with joy to that sound!
This peach butter, much like the sweet cider apple butter I made years ago, takes a little bit longer to prepare and cook than jams or jellies do because you want it super thick and concentrated with flavor.
But when you’re preserving gorgeous summer peaches at the height of their ripeness with the intent of slathering homemade peach butter on warm biscuits, scones, English muffins, or some hearty honey wheat bread in the middle of winter, does it really matter how long it takes to cook?
I know many people cook their fruit butter recipes in a crock pot in order to take advantage of the hands-off time, but I opt to cook mine on the stove top. I like watching the transformation happen – it’s both cathartic and rewarding to me.
Do You Have to Can This Recipe?
Nope! It’s important to note though, that if you don’t can this fruit butter, it will won’t last as long.
You can keep the uncanned peach butter in a container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
In the freezer, the peach butter will last longer – about 6 months.
Properly canned peach butter will keep for up to 1 year in your pantry or cabinet and then about 1 month in the fridge after you open it.
Less sweet than peach jam but with an abundance of pure peach flavor, this peach butter will knock your socks off, as it did for my BFF who confessed to eating it straight from the jar I mailed to her in VT this past weekend.
That’s a pretty good indication of how great this stuff is, if I do say so myself!
- 4 lbs peaches
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Prep the peaches: If you use a food mill, skip to the next step. If you don't use a food mill, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare large bowl of ice water; set aside. Mark an "x" in the bottom of each peach and lower the peaches into the water, allowing them to cook for just 30 seconds. Transfer the peaches using a slotted spoon to the ice water and wait 1 minute. The peels should slip off; discard the peels.
- Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, then quarter each half so you have 8 slices from each peach. Bring the peaches and the water to a boil in a large pot (if you blanched the peaches first, use the same one). Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once they are tender (not mushy), transfer the peaches to a food mill in batches to skin them or a food processor and puree them until smooth.
- Canning Prep: Wash and dry your jars, brand new lids (never reused), and rings. Check the jars for cracks or chips and discard any that are damaged. Add the lids to a small saucepan filled with an inch or two of water. Place the jars in your canning pot, set on top of a rack - not directly on the bottom of the pot - and fill the pot with enough water so that it covers the top of the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover and bring the water to a boil and keep the water boiling while you make the jam.
- To make the peach butter: Return the pureed peaches to the large pot and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently towards the end to prevent scorching. If the mixture starts to splatter while boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- To test for doneness, the easiest way to do this is to use the "spoon test" whereas if the butter doesn't fall off the spoon when you flip it upside-down, it's done. You can also freeze a small plate and once a drop of the butter on the frozen plate doesn't leave a ring of liquid around it after a couple of minutes, you can call it done. Likewise, if you run a spoon across the bottom of the pot and it leaves a trail revealing the pot bottom between the sides of the butter after a couple seconds, it's done. I prefer the "spoon test."
- Towards the end of the peach butter cooking time, bring the water in the small saucepan to a simmer but don't allow it to boil. This will soften the rubber seal around the lids and help them seal better when processed.
- To can the peach butter: Turn the heat under the canning pot off. Remove the jars from the canning pot with your canning tongs, draining each well as you remove them. Using a clean canning funnel, ladle the butter into the jars leaving ½-inch of headspace between the top of the butter and top of the jars. Clean the rim of each of the jars with a clean, dry towel and place a hot lid (from the saucepan) onto each jar. Add the rings and tighten just to finger-tight. The jars will be hot so use a kitchen towel to hold the jars while you do this.
- Transfer the filled jars to the canning pot rack with the canning tongs, lower the rack, cover, and bring the pot back to a boil. Process the jars for 12 minutes. If you are above sea level, you'll want to check this site for processing times as the times vary with changes in sea level.
- Once the jars are finished processing, turn the heat off and remove the jars with the tongs, setting them on a clean, dry towel. Be sure to put them in a spot where you won't have to move them for 24 hours. The lids should begin to seal with a "pop" sound shortly after you remove them from the pot. After 24 hours, remove the rings and lift the jars an inch off of the counter with your fingertips around the edge of the lids to check that the lids have sealed. If any of the lids have not sealed, refrigerate or freeze the butter immediately. The processed and sealed jars will keep for at least a year in a cool, dark space.
You can make this peach butter with or without a food mill. I seriously love mine but there are less expensive options out there as well and at the same time, it isn't required for this recipe. If you opt not to can this recipe, the butter will last a couple weeks in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
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