Peach Butter

adapted from A Dusting of Sugar

Makes 3-4 C

Prep time: 30-40 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes (or, if you're me, 2-3hours)

Cost: $6.85 or about $2.00/cup

(peaches: 6.50, sugar: .35)

4 lb peaches

1 C water

2 C granulated sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract, optional

Peel the peaches and cut them off their pits--they just need to be in chunks; nothing neat is required.

Put peaches in a pot, add water, and cook at a steady boil until they're tender. This will take 15-20 minutes. They're ready when you can mash them with a potato masher or fork.

Puree your peaches in a blender or with a submersion blender. Return them to pot. Add lemon juice and sugar. Mix. Return to your steady, solid-but-not-too-aggressive-just-like-a-good-man-should-be boil. Stir them occasionally. By which I mean every 4-5 minutes or so. At first I was stirring every 30 seconds and I was really slowing the cooking process down.

After the peach butter has reduced a bit and is beginning to thicken, you should stir it more frequently and keep your eye on it because you don't want your lovely substance burning on the bottom of your pot. Really, you don't. You've been standing there for a while and burning it will really tick you off.

Note: While you're standing there, you can prepare your jars if you're going to can. Sterilize them in the dishwasher or by putting them in a pot of boiling water. If you're not canning, clean your kitchen or read your child a story or stare vacantly at your pile of peach peels  meditate. Whatever works for you.

As it boils and you occasionally stir, the bubbles will start to seem thick. They'll sort of hold a bit of their shape after they pop.

At that point, you're almost done. When you can drizzle a bit over the top and that ribbon of peach butter holds its shape before dissolving into the pot, it's ready. Another good back up test: If you put it on a spoon and it holds its shape for a minute or two, it's ready. You'll see.

When it's ready...

If canning: Pour hot liquid into hot jars. Wipe off the tops and put new sealy lids on and screw the tops on. Then put them in a big pot of water and process (boil) for 10 minutes. Take them out, let them cool, and listen to that satisfying pop as the lids seal. It's sheer retro bliss, that sound.

If not canning, let cool just a bit and pour into containers. This is said to keep for 3 weeks in the refrigerator. I'm betting you can also freeze it like you would freezer jam.

Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate: