Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting Back Into the Groove (And a Recipe for Peach Butter)

Having recently returned from vacation it has taken me a while to get my cooking mojo back.  It was easy to cook on vacation - there was a barbecue.  Simple meals, minimal cleanup.  Now that I've gotten back into the groove I have been cooking up a storm.  But, upon returning home to an empty fridge and a despondently bare pantry, I may have overdone it with the food shopping...

As I've written here previously, I hate to waste food.  In the time it took me to get back onto the cooking wagon I had accumulated a large amount of peaches.  Between my CSA and an accidental double order on Fresh Direct I found myself with over 4 lbs of nearing-the-point-of-no-return peaches in my refrigerator.  Fortunately one of the blogs I love recently had a recipe for peach butter.  Peach butter?  I've made butter before but I've never made peach butter before.  So I figured, why not?

This recipe is completely inspired by the one found on smitten kitchen. I added in ginger and substituted lime juice for lemon.  I also used considerably less water because the first time I made this according to the original recipe I found it too thin for my taste.   There is also less sugar in this second batch because I wanted the flavor of the peaches to shine.

This is delicious on its own right off the spoon (so I've heard...).  It also makes a nice addition to plain yogurt for breakfast, a topping for ice cream, a spread on toast or an accompaniment to pork.

Peach Butter with Ginger and Lime
Yields about 4 cups

4 lbs peaches
1/4 cup water
1" piece of ginger, chopped
1 cup sugar (or less if you prefer)
Juice of 1 lime

  • To peel the peaches:  make a small "x" in the bottom of each peach and drop them into boiling water for about a minute.  Remove quickly to a bowl filled with ice water.  After another minute you should be able to slip the fruit right out of the peels.
  • Remove the pits and chop the peaches into 1" pieces. 
  • Combine with the water and ginger and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Reduce to a simmer and allow the peaches to cook until they have softened - about 30-40 minutes.
  • Transfer the peaches and any accumulated juices to a blender and puree (do this in batches).
  • Return the peach puree to the pot, add in the sugar and lime juice and stir to  start dissolving the sugar.  
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a brisk simmer (you want bubbles to be breaking the surface) and allow the mixture to thicken considerably (it will reduce by about 1/3).  This can take anywhere from 45-90 minutes depending on how much moisture there was in your peaches.
  • At this point you can simply transfer the butter to jars and allow it to cool.  It will keep in the refrigerator this way for about 2 weeks.  Once it is cooled you can also transfer it to freezer safe containers and freeze the butter.  It will last for months in the freezer and allow you to savor the taste of summer peaches in say, February, when summer seems but a distant memory.
  • Or, if you choose, you can opt to can the butter and it will keep for a considerably longer amount of time.  For canning instructions please see here.  I'm lazy and just do the refrigerator method.  

1 comment:

Susan T. said...

Oh, does this sound good! I wonder if there are any peaches still around...