Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Have I mentioned that I love fall?

I think October is my favorite month - so much The Favorite that it gets its own blog re-design. In celebration, I'm going to continue to post more great peach recipes.

If I can keep the kids from eating all the peaches on the way home from the orchard, I have lots of bottling/preserving possibilities. Last year I discovered this website that has recipes for just about any delicious thing you could ever want to can, bottle, tin or make ice cream from. On that site I saw this easy slow-cooker recipe for peach butter. Everyone always talks about apple butter, which is good, but peaches are nearer and dearer to my heart. So I had to make some. Here's how (it's easy!)

Wash, peel and slice your ripe peaches. Cooking won't ripen fruit so if they're green and under-ripe now, the peach butter will taste under-ripe. About 15 peaches fit in my crock pot, and I have the big oval 5 qt. one. Oh, and this makes your slow-cooker bowl super-duper sticky so if you don't have the kind with the removable, dishwasher-safe bowl, break yours, blame it on the kids (or dog or cat) and get a new one.

New crock-pot acquired, chop the peaches up (thin slices or cubes). The smaller your pieces, the more will fit in the pot. They don't have to be even OR pretty so this is a task that Husband can help with. Add 3-4 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet you want it) and about 2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, 1/2 tps allspice and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Set your slow-cooker to low, set the lid on but leave a space to vent and let it go for about 6-12 hours. My batch went from 6pm to about 8 the next morning and was perfect.

You can stir the pot if you want, and I actually mashed the peaches up a bit during the cooking process, just to have something to do. Remember that your lid shouldn't sit on tightly, or there won't be anywhere for the steam to escape and you want this to reduce. The nice thing about the slow cooker is that the heat is so low that you would have to forget about the butter for a week or so to burn it. An extra perk is that your house smells divine the whole time this is cooking. I think heaven must smell like peaches and baking bread.

Once it's all cooked down to about 2/3 or 1/2 of the original volume, blend it up. A stick blender is the best but if you have to, put it in your regular blender or food processor. You want the consistency to be nice and smooth. It gets thicker as it's all blended as well.

Fruit butters are really forgiving. Say that you made this, let it cool and it just wasn't as thick as you wanted? Just pour it all back in the crock pot, heat it up and cook it for longer. If you've made it too thick, pour in some fruit juice to thin it back out. To test it, I scooped up a few tablespoons in a cup and let it cool. It looked fine but I wanted to check the "spreadability" so I slathered it on some toast and ate it. Delicious.

Pour your peach butter into pint or half-pint jars and water-bath it the same way you would jams or jellies. Then it will store on the shelf for your all-winter enjoyment. I made this last year and I got enough to give out to family, as Christmas gifts to the neighbors, to bribe people to be my friends and still have plenty leftover for me. My favorite way to eat it was on crepes with cinnamon sugar and whipped cream. Excuse me while I wipe drool from the keyboard...

Happy harvest, etc.



Hannah said...

I LOVE the redesign!! So cute.

AMS said...

love the little spiders!! oooh! so, I have one of those crockpots with the unremovable bowl and I seriously have tried to break it so many times, the dang thing is indestructable!!!

Sarah said...

Um, I think you might need to bring some of that to cooking club... or just to me. I will trade you for bread/rolls? It sounds DIVINE!

Scott&Janae said...

Thats looks great. I'm going to have to try it. My mom has a peach tree and she has brought me over a lot of peaches. It looks like fun!