Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PEACH BUTTER


My Dad sold musical instruments for the "Conn" company for as long I can remember. His travels took him all over the Rocky Mountain region and as far away as Utah, New Mexico and California.

Dad always tried to bring something home for the four of his kids when he came back from a business trip.  As soon as Dad hit the door the four of us would make a mad dash to dig into his suit case to see what treasures awaited.

Sometimes he would bring us the little soaps from the hotels and motels he stayed in while traveling.  Other times he would bring fresh picked peaches, apples, roasted green chilies that he purchased from road side stands.   The chocolate candy that Dad would get from wholesalers at the music conventions he attended was always a big hit.

One of Dads favorite goodies to bring home was Colorado, Western Slope peaches.  Dad would buy a case or two of peaches for mom to put up for the Winter and some to eat while driving.  I'm sure my family would agree that these are the best tasting peaches in Colorado.  

It was a beautiful sight to see all four of us rubbing the fuzz off a fat ripe peach, taking that first juicy bite and feeling the cool juice drip down our chins.  A perfect ending to a hot and lazy summer day.

I was lucky enough to come across some Palisade peaches this week while driving by a local fundraiser for the Conifer Rotary Club.  The peaches haven't been as good this year in Colorado so I was hopeful that these Western Slope beauties were sweet and juicy for my Peach Butter. 

There's nothing better in the dead of winter than to wake early in the morning before everyone is hustling around for work and school, and pour a hot cup of coffee and slather some Peach Butter on a piece of toast.  Ahaaa, the memories of long hot summers flood back in a rush! Oh so sweet!


PEACH BUTTER

4 to 41/2 pounds of peaches (about 16-18 medium)
4 cups sugar
half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cups water

Pulp: Wash and blanch peaches. Immediately transfer blanched peaches into cold water.  Peel and remove pits, slice peaches and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep peaches from becoming brown. 


Blanching: plunge peaches into large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, remove with a large slotted spoon and plunge into a cold water bath, peel and slice


Cold Water Bath





Pour peaches and 1/2 cup water into a large sauce pot. Simmer on low until peaches are tender enough to puree.  Use a food processor or hand held blender to blend the peaches until they are smooth but not liquefied.  Make sure not to over blend!





Butter:
In a large sauce pot add peaches, sugar and spices. Cook on medium heat until mixture is thick.  It can take up to two hours to achieve the right consistency depending on altitude and weather. (this batch took 1:45 minutes at 8500 feet)  Stir frequently to prevent sticking. 




To ensure correct thickness, put a tablespoon of hot butter onto a very cold plate, allow to set for a few seconds, run your index finger through the butter. If the butter stays separated your ready to fill your jars. 



Pour hot butter into hot prepared jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. 

For a variation add a tsp. of nutmeg when adding sugar
Yield: 4 pints Print Friendly and PDF

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