Homemade fruit butters aren’t quite as thick as commercially-made ones, but their flavour is just as wonderful. This is a terrific way to capture perfectly ripe summer peaches in a jar to enjoy throughout the year.
4½ lb (2.025 kg) fresh peaches (about 16)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
Scrub peaches to remove excess fuzz. Cut into quarters, or sixths if large. In a large Dutch oven, combine peaches, ½ cup water, and lemon juice. Using potato masher, crush peaches. Partially cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered and stirring, until peaches are very soft and can be mashed easily with a spoon, about 25 minutes.
Chill 2 plates in freezer. Press peach mixture through fine disc of food mill or purée in food processor until smooth. In clean Dutch oven, combine peach mixture, granulated and brown sugars, and cinnamon (if using). Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until thick enough to mound softly on spoon, 1 hour.
To test for correct consistency, place 1 tsp hot peach butter on 1 chilled plate. Butter should stay in place without flattening or seeping at edges. If not, continue cooking, repeating test every 2 minutes, until proper consistency is reached, always using coldest clean plate.
Fill hot 1-cup (250 mL) canning jars, leaving ¼-inch (5 mm) headspace. Cover with prepared discs. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil jars in boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
Turn off heat. Uncover and let jars stand in canner for 5 minutes. Lift up rack. With canning tongs, transfer jars to cooling rack; let cool for 24 hours.
Makes about 7 cups
The peaches are unpeeled because the skins give the butter a nice colour. Once they’re puréed, you can’t taste them.
If your food mill doesn’t make the peach mixture smooth enough, use an immersion blender after the sugar is added to purée the mixture to a smoother consistency.
As the mixture thickens, keep a close eye on the pot to prevent burning. Maintain a gentle boil by gradually decreasing the heat and stirring more frequently.
Excerpted from Canadian Living: The Complete Preserving Book by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen Copyright © 2012 by Transcontinental Books. Photograph Copyright © 2012 by Edward Pond. Excerpted by permission of Random House of Canada Limited on behalf of Transcontinental. All rights reserved.