My youngest sister, Avery, came over yesterday to hang out and we decided to take the leftover peaches in the fridge and turn them into a delectable, spreadable fruit butter and then seal them up in Ball jelly jars. It was pretty much awesome, if I do say so myself.
The best thing about this is that you can make a lot or a little, and fruit is so inexpensive right now! The recipe called for 3 pounds of peaches, but once we got down to the actual measuring, 3 pounds of peaches is more accurately described as 7-9 whole peaches. We used 6 and got a good amount for us, were able to fill and seal 4 jars, with a little leftover to pour, still steamy and warm, over blueberry muffins.
I am always looking for fruit sales. These peaches were 88 cents/pound at the local supermarket. I don't usually recommend that. I usually go to the farmer's market down the street and pick up a pint or two, but the best kind of peaches are not quite ripe yet, and sometimes I get impatient. I will probably go pick up more peaches next weekend if I have the time between work, piano lessons and the theater.
Yes, I used my new favorite book (as shown above), and even though we didn't quite follow the recipe to the letter, we were pretty pleased with the outcome.
To make peach lavender butter, you need:
Several soft, fresh, ripe peaches
2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds
Boiling water (lots of it, and several pots and pans)
4-6 jelly jars, lids and rings
2 c. granulated sugar
Juice from one lemon
The first step, as with any project like this, is to blanch your fruit. Now, if you don't know what blanching is, like I didn't before I read this book, this step is VITAL! DO NOT skip blanching! Fill a large bowl with water and some ice cubes and set a pot on the stovetop to boil. Score the bottom of the fruit you are using with a knife. Just a small little 'X' will do. Boil water in a pot and using a slotted spoon, drop one piece of fruit at a time into the water for 30 seconds each. You should see the peach skin start to pull away from the 'X' you cut into the bottom.
After 30 seconds of boiling, pick up the peach with your slotted spoon and put it in the ice bath for 30 seconds. After that, the skins should practically fall off the peach on their own, but go ahead and peel those skins off anyway.
Remove the pits from the peaches. (This is IMPORTANT! Cut ALL signs of pit away from your peaches! Peach stones are toxic and even a small amount can make you very sick.) Chop the peaches into small pieces and put them into a pan.
Put those dried lavender buds into a tea bag and drop them into a third of a cup of boiling water and let them steep for about ten minutes. Try to resist the urge to make more than this small amount of water, because I practically decided to make a pot of tea and later had to use corn starch to thicken things up a bit.
After the lavender has steeped for a bit, remove the tea bag and pour the water into the chopped peaches. Squeeze as much juice as possible out of a lemon and stir it all up. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and stir occasionally. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, or until it is thick enough to stick on a spoon.
While the peaches are simmering, put the canning lids into a small pot of water and bring to just a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the peach mixture is thickened, put it all into a food processor, or a food mill, and process it into a nice creamy puree. Put it back into the pan and completely dissolve 2 cups of granulated sugar into while bringing it back up to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. If you would like an herby and unique texture to the butter, add the lavender buds that you used to make the lavender water out of.
Should you have trouble with the thickness of your peach butter, you can mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch into a little cold water and pour it into the butter while it is boiling.
Using canning tools, fill a few jelly jars with the butter, but reserve a little for immediate use. Put the lids on top of the jars and screw the rings around them loosely. Drop the jars one by one into a boiling water bath and process them for 20 minutes. Remove them with a jar lifter and allow them to cool. You will know that your jars properly sealed themselves if you can remove the ring and lift the whole jar by the lid only. If you can't, process in the boiling water for a few more minutes.
Go on! Try it! Our house smelled like summer and deliciousness and my Grandmother's kitchen all at the same time. We were so happy with this recipe!