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Peach Butter

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  • My considered recommendation for fruit butter is this: Peel the
  • peaches and chunk or slice the fruit. Cook them in a 2-quart pyrex
  • pitcher in the microwave until they are tender. I like to nuke
  • them that way because you can do it with little or no additional
  • liquid that you'd then want to drain off. OR, cook them with only
  • the barest amount of water, so they don't burn or stick, until
  • tender. Drain through a colander, reserving the peach juice. Put
  • the drained peaches through a food mill to puree. I don't like
  • the texture of fruit that's pureed in a food processor. If your
  • peaches are particularly scrumptious, add sugar in a ratio of about
  • 1 cup sugar to 3 cups peach pulp. Add a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • to taste. Not too much. Cook it slowly, stirring more often as
  • it thickens, in a heavy kettle or dutch oven, nonreactive metal
  • preferred, until it is of the desired consistency -- thickened
  • somewhat, no liquid oozes from the edges when a dollop is placed
  • on a saucer.

A splatter shield (screen) is invaluable, IMHO, because if you cover the kettle, you'll contain the very steam you want to evaporate. You cannot hurry fruit butters. Too high heat will caramelize the sugar and you'll have peach mortar. Don't do that. Alternatively (I have done this), pour the sweetened and seasoned puree into a shallow roasting pan (I use an old enameled pan that measures about 12x18 inches and bake it in a low oven (no more than 325 degrees, I'm thinking), stirring occasionally. When it suits you, jar it up in appropriate sterilized jars, seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for half pint jars. You're looking for 48 half-pint jars? Make yourself comfortable; you'll be at it a while. Fresh Peach Butter 7 cups sliced, peeled, ripe peaches, pureed in food processor or blender 3 cups sugar 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice In a 6-8 quart pan, heat lemon juice for 1 minute over medium-high heat. Add pureed peaches and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of thick applesauce (about 15 minutes). Immediately fill hot, sterilized half-pint jars with mixture, leaving 1/4. headspace. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jars and screw bands on firmly. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Yield: About 6 half-pint jars.

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