Spiced Peach Butter
Millions of Peaches
It’s peach season here in Colorado, y’all. Know how I know? Because they are EVERYWHERE. Grocery stands with piles upon piles tumbling over themselves, lip-smacking honeyed aroma spilling into the aisles. At the farmer’s market, with twee little baskets lining the tables. Even roadside, enterprising peddlers have pop-up fruit stands trying to get rid of the season’s bounty.
And then Abby took a drive up to peach country. Who can refuse when a friend offers to pick you up a pallet of Colorado delights, straight from the land of milk and honey? Arrangements were made, money changed hands, and then – there they were.
Y’all, there are so. Many. Peaches.
I’m not sure what the actual measurement or headcount was for that jam-packed (ha!) cardboard carton, but let’s round up and say gobs. GOBS and gobs of peaches. Millions of peaches, peaches for me. Just one thing, though.
I kinda don’t like them. Peaches, that is. I know, I know, believe me. I’m really the worst. But real talk – they’re slimy, right? All slipping around, and aggressively juicy? I like the theory of them – flavorful, versatile, fragrant, etc. etc., but it’s just… when you get one on its own, lolling around in your mouth… *shudders*
But you know what helps? Adding crust. Or maybe pureeing them? Cooking them down in ways both savory and sweet to obscure their sort of repugnant texture.
Hm. We’re gonna need backup.
I was not the only one who had fallen prey to the peach sensation sweeping the nation. With a pallet of her own, Cecile texted me the next morning at 7:30 am, clearly awakened by a nightmarish case of the peach sweats.
“Wanna make peach stuff all day?”
Why yes. Yes, I do.
She rolled up my driveway early, pallet, eggs and Irish butter in hand. The fuzz started to fly.
Half the batch was destined for peach butter – a great way to burn through some raw tonnage. Like apple butter in the fall, you take a gob of peaches, toss them with abandon in a large dutch oven or stock pot, dust them with a bouquet of spices, then let Jesus take the wheel.
After an hour, every room in the house was flooded with the deep aroma of toasty, warm spices and heady stewed peaches. A whir of the immersion blender later, and the lush, velvety darkened fruit puree was ready to be spread on hot biscuits, smeared on toast, dolloped on waffles, swirled into yogurt, whirled into an ice cream base – or just straight up eaten with a spoon.
Like magic, half the peaches were gone. Oh, and inadvertently paleo sooo, win, I guess? (Though, how could you not eat this on stacks of bread product? Questions.)
- 7 lbs peaches (unpeeled or peeled, depending on your level of neurosis)
- 1 ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ c apple cider vinegar
- 1 c. sugar (optional, forfeit paleo points if using)
- Wash your peaches. If peeling peaches, do so with the maximum level of care and detail warranted by your (my) type A nature. Or leave the skins on, your call. Tear the peaches apart to remove the pits and crush the flesh by hand as you toss them in a large stockpot or dutch oven.
- Add spices. (Note: Feel free to customize the spice combinations to your whims - purist? Just add sugar and/or cinnamon. Allspice is nice, as is crushed food-grade lavender.) Add cider vinegar.
- Whir with an immersion blender until pureed. If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree the peaches in batches in a food processor or blender during step one, then add to pot.
- Let simmer for 60 - 90 mins, uncovered, until significantly reduced (you want the mixture to be thick and spreadable).
- At this point you may opt to can your handiwork. If canning puts the fear of botulism in you, divide the mixture up into giftable mason jars and encourage your family and friends to finish the goods within a couple of weeks. Pairing the gift with a batch of freshly-made biscuits should help them finish the job.
- Makes approximately six 1-pint mason jars.