This is the juicy peach time of year. Every market is overflowing with them and sometimes I wish I could bottle up that deep earthy sweetness that tastes like the height of summer. I think I have come pretty close with this recipe for peach butter. A few wise people in my life have taught me a lot about fruit. The late Jon Rowley, who I wrote about in my first book and in the Wall Street Journal, taught me that sugar is cheaper than fruit and so anything manufactured will never taste right when it comes to fruit. You will never taste the true essence of the fruit. He also introduced me to the motherland of perfect peaches, Frog Hollow Farm. And then there’s my grandmother, the late Frances Pellegrini, who was generally against added sugar in any circumstance and would go to great lengths to avoid using it. She believed that you should always use the bare minimum of sugar in order to accentuate the other flavors.
By not using much sweetener and cooking the peaches slowly for a long period of time, their natural sweetness will emerge as their own sugars caramelize. The result is a very rich and peachy flavor. Spread it on toast, scones, muffins, or eat it by the spoonful.
I even recommend finding a place to pick the peaches yourself, I always believe the food taste so much better when you’ve had to work for the ingredients.
What is your favorite way to preserve summertime fruit? Share pictures with me on social media using #ModernPioneering.
- 4 to 6 cups ripe fresh peaches sliced into eighths
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, cook the peach slices with ¼ cup of water over medium heat and cover with a lid, stirring often, until they are very soft, about 10 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the peach mixture to a blender and puree on high for about 60 seconds, until the flesh and skins of the peaches are completely pureed.
- Return the puree to the pot over medium heat, add the lemon juice and honey, and continue to stir for 30 to 45 minutes, until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when dripping from a spatula. As you stir the mixture will spatter, so it is wise to use a spatter screen over the top or at the very least a large piece of paper towel. As bubbles form and spatter, stir constantly to prevent the mixture from scorching the bottom of the pot. Remove from the heat and let the puree come to room temperature.
- Spoon the peach butter into mason jars or a freezer-safe container. It will store for up to 6 months in the refrigerator or up to 1 year in the freezer. Alternatively, process the peach butter in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes. It is best when consumed within 12 to18 months of canning.