Monday, August 25, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Peach in the Afternoon-Time

“How am I going to write about the peach disaster?” I whined to my mother.

(To answer your question: yes while I am doing something I am totally conscious that I will soon be blogging about it. I have even been known to say “Crap I need to do something so I can blog about it.”)

My mother replied: “It wasn’t technically a disaster.”

I realized that although our plans for canning peaches had been totally derailed, since they were salvageable it wasn’t technically a disaster but more of a crisis which had been averted.

Our original plan was to do quarts of halved peaches in syrup. We bought about 12 or 13 pounds of peaches and began the process of boiling them to remove the skins. We discovered that some were still so under ripe that the skins were almost impossible to remove. Others were ripe enough to remove the skins but it was impossible to get the peach halves off cleanly without mushing them.

So what we ended up with was a bowl of peach pieces in lemon water to prevent them from browning. Although we probably could have proceeded with our plans we decided that they would have been too ugly.

After an emergency perusal of our Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving we decided instead to make a batch of peach butter.

Although this recipe for peach butter called for lemon juice and zest another recipe we had didn’t so we just stuck with peach puree and sugar (the ration was 2 parts puree to 1 of sugar).

(In hind sight I can see why lemon would be good, to cut some of the super sweetness of peaches.)

We mixed 8 cups of pureed peach (which was convenient since our peaches were already fairly mashed up) with 4 cups sugar and brought them to a boil and then simmered for almost an hour stirring frequently. We then put them in 7 sanitized jelly jars and processed them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

With the other half of our peaches we plan to try making what the book refers to as “spreadable fruit” which appears to be basically peach jam. So check back soon to see how that goes.

And if anyone has ever been able to successfully halve peeled peaches, what kind of peaches did you use? Did you boil them first to remove the skins? I’m not sure I believe it's possible.


  1. I don't think your peach butter was a disaster at all! I slathered some of the peach butter on my bagel yesterday morning, and it's delicious, with a rich peach flavor and not too sweet like some of the butters I've made. Thanks for sending a jar to me. It's one of the few food items that still tastes like it's supposed to taste after I've had a radiation session! Love, Horsey

  2. Ahhh...when searching for peaches, look for varieties that are "freestone". The growers at the farmers market will know what you mean! The skins slip off easily and the fruit will pull right off the pit without being crushed.


  3. Thanks angelapea! I hope our favorite local orchard has some. I guess I'll see next year, I havne't given up on peaches yet!