Monday, September 10, 2012

RECIPE: Peach Butter

    Yield: 6 pints (48 Servings)
    Prep: 5 mins 
    Cook: 60 mins
    Ready In: 1 hr 5 mins

    15 pounds peaches (pitted and quartered)
    3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

    Working in batches, toss the peaches in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
    Pour peach puree into a heavy-bottomed stock pot, and stir in spices. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 60 minutes or until thickened into a fine paste.

    Blend until smooth with an immersion blender, pour into pint-sized mason jars and refrigerate or can using the water bath method.

You can preserve this peach butter any of three ways:

Freezing: Once prepared and cooled down to room temperature, spoon the peach butter into resealable plastic freezer bags, BPA-free plastic freezer jars, or even glass mason jars (given enough head room to allow for expansion). Freezing retains more nutrients than canning, but is less cost-effective over time.
Fermentation: To ferment peach butter, cool it down to at least 100 F, stir in fresh whey or a packaged vegetable starter culture (find it here) and place it into a fermentation crock (find it here). Ferment for 3 to 5 days at room temperature and store in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks after which it will begin to lose flavor. Fermentation of fruit butters can actually increase the content of vitamins and food enzymes, but it will create a sourer flavor. It also will take up a lot of room in your fridge.
Canning: To can the peach butter, pour it into canning jars, seal and process in a water bath. Time in the water bath will vary according to your altitude, so use a good book like the Ball Book of Canning to give you guidance. Canning results in the greatest loss of heat-sensitive vitamins; however properly canned foods like this peach butter are good for several years.

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