Low-Sugar Peach Butter

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uthcjam2009I know that summer is long gone and buying good, fresh peaches is no longer an option for most of us. But I wanted to submit this recipe to Aimée’s  (Under the High Chair) Virtual Jam Swap. What a fun way to showcase fresh fruit from around the country (world?) and how to preserve them in one of my favorite forms: homemade jam!

I like Apple Butter, but Peach Butter is my all-time favorite. It has some of the same flavors as the apple butter, but is so much richer and has a full body that apple butter just can’t touch! I make most of my jams with a reduced amount of sugar, using  Stevia (a naturally sweet herb) to provide most of the sweetness. I have not been successful, however, canning with only Stevia and no sugar. The jam seems to need at least some sugar to help it gel properly and to provide some of the “sheen” that makes jam look so good. So I use a substantially reduced amount of sugar and a little Stevia (a little goes a LONG way).

Peach/Apple Butter are great, but much more time consuming than regular jam. With five kids running around making constant demands, I am not very good at stirring and watching a pot closely for hours at a time. So I make this jam in the crockpot. It takes a good long time – at least 12 hours, sometimes 24, depending on your crock-pot and how humid your house is. But if I only need to stir it every hour or two, that I can handle.

DSC01559I use a large crock-pot, about 6 quarts to make this jam. I end up getting between 7 and 9 half-pint jars in the end. This will depend on how thick you like your peach butter and how full you fill your crock-pot. I used 25 peaches (almost 1 peck) for this batch. Free-stone peaches are much easier to work with than cling peaches, but since the peaches will be crushed, either variety will produce a great result. It just depends on how much you want to work to remove those pits!

Start with peeling your peaches: Bring a pot of water to a boil, reduce heat and maintain a slow simmer. Drop (carefully!) peaches into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water. Let peaches sit in the cold water for a few minutes. The peels should come off easily now. Cut peaches in half and remove the pit. You can place the peach halves directly into your crock-pot, or slice/chop them a little so that you can pack even more peaches in the pot. I usually use the most sophisticated method of crushing the peach halves in my hand (freshly washed, of course).

Stir in your sweetener (sugar and/or Stevia) and some seasonings to taste: I like cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Turn your crock-pot on low and cook with the lid OFF for 12-24 hours. Humidity will greatly affect how long it takes your peach butter to thicken. If your crock-pot begins to splatter (I don’t have a problem with this, but the low setting on my crock-pot seems REALLY low), you can place a splatter screen over the top, or put the lid on only partway.

Stir occasionally and enjoy the delicious smell all day long. When peaches become very soft and start to thicken, I use an immersion blender to make a smooth spread. You could also use a food processor or blender, but be careful as it is very hot.

DSC02189Continue to cook until peach butter is thick. It will become a gorgeous caramel color, and a spoon drawn through the mixture will leave a trail. The exact consistency is up to your personal preference. Taste and adjust spices as desired.

If you are canning the peach butter, prepare your jars and lids and boiling bath. Fill jars to within 1/8″ of rim. Wipe rims of jars (or they won’t seal properly). Place lids on jars. Place jars  in a boiling bath canner. Return water to a gentle boil and process 5 minutes. Cool  on a towel on your kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

Enjoy!

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Peach Butter

Peaches (about 25 for a large 5-6 qt crock-pot)
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/8-1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Stevia extract (or about 2-3 cups additional sugar)

Peel peaches (dip in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then put into large bowl of ice water). Cut peaches in half and remove pits; slice peaches, if desired. Fill a crock pot with as many peaches as it will hold (leaving about 1” at the top). Stir in spices and sweeteners (proportions are for a large 5-6 quart crock pot). (NOTE: Start with a small amount of sugar/sweetener, as sweetness of peaches and personal tastes will vary. You can add more sweetener later, after the peach butter has reduced, if you want it sweeter) Set the crock pot on low or medium. Let it cook, without the lid, for 12-24 hours (cover with a splatter-guard if necessary). Stir occasionally.

When cooked and reduced, use an immersion blender to make a smooth peach butter (or leave it coarse, if preferred). Taste and adjust sweetness and spices. If butter gets too thick, add a little fruit juice. If mixture is still too thin, cook longer or transfer to a saucepan and gently boil (stirring constantly) until reduced.

Ladle hot mixture into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process 5 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

Yield: 7-9 half-pint jars

 

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11 Comments

Filed under Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces

11 responses to “Low-Sugar Peach Butter

  1. The peach butter looks thick and delicious. I’m getting ready to make orange marmalade as soon as the oranges go on sale.

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  2. A classmate recommended me to read this post, nice post, fanstatic read… keep up the cool work!

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  3. Amanda C

    What if you don’t have a boiling bath canner? Can I still can the butter?

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    • If you want the peach butter to be shelf-stable, you will need to process it in boiling water. If you don’t have an official “canner”, you can use any large covered pot filled with water that covers the jars by 1-2 inches. The jars should also not sit directly on the bottom of the pot. A rack on the bottom of the pot is ideal, but if you don’t have one, you can use a folded dishtowel.

      If you still don’t have the ability to process the jars in boiling water, then you can still put the peach butter in jars (or plastic containers) and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. If you are going to do this, then fill the jars with the hot peach butter, put on the lids, and let the jars cool completely before freezing or refrigerating. Kelly

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  4. it still seems like a lot of sugar (i don’t have stevia so would need to add the extra sugar). What happens if you don’t add the extra sugar and omit the stevia? does it just affect the taste or is it a preserving agent?

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    • Stevia is not a preserving agent, so omitting it should not affect the safety of canning the peach butter. You can always leave the additional sugar out, cook the peach butter down, and then taste it. If it is not sweet enough, then add additional sweetener/sugar. Just be sure to return the peach butter to at least a low simmer before canning it, to be sure that all of the sugar has dissolved.

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  5. Jessica

    Did you mean to say “1/2 CUP” Stevia instead of a “1/2 tsp?” I would think a 1/2 tsp would not be the equavilent of 2-3 cups additional sugar!!! EGHADS! LOL

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    • The amount listed is actually correct. Stevia is an ultra-sweet herb. It is not an artificial sweetener; it is a natural herb. I will go back and update the recipe to clarify that I use stevia extract. This used to be the only way to buy stevia-in powdered or liquid extract form. Within the last few months, I have also seen a “spoonable” variety which measures cup for cup like sugar (I tried it and did not care for the taste). I use the Sweet Leaf brand of stevia extract in most of my cooking, either the powdered or liquid varieties. The powdered is a little more potent than the liquid, but the liquid also comes in some nice flavors like vanilla cream, peppermint and hazelnut. The taste and sweetness among brands can vary somewhat as well as personal preference, so start with a small amount of stevia, and adjust to your liking. I buy my stevia on amazon.com, but a few grocery stores are starting to carry it as well. The website for the brand I like is: http://www.sweetleaf.com/.
      If you are going to use all sugar, taste the peach butter before adding the full amount of sugar. How much you want will depend on how sweet your peaches are and personal taste (I do not like overly sweet jams).
      Disclosure: I receive no compensation from amazon or Sweet Leaf. I just like their products.

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  6. You are not joking when you say the smell is divine! My whole house smells like cinnamon-y peaches! Thank you for the ‘hands off’ recipe! I can’t wait to taste it when it is done!

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  7. Stephanie

    What is the shelf life of this recipe? I am not sure if I over looked your instructions but I couldn’t find it listed

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    • If you process the jars in a boiling bath canner, they should be shelf stable for at least one year. Just be sure that the jars all seal properly: when the center of the lid is pressed with your finger, it should not move up and down at all. It is always good to check the seal both immediately after processing (or within the first 24 hours) and again before you use the jam. If the jars do not seal properly immediately after processing, you can reprocess them in the canner, or just put them in the fridge to eat right away. If the jar becomes unsealed after it has been on the shelf, throw it away.

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