|Bourbon Vanilla Maple Peach Butter|
Don't be intimidated by Jams and Preserves. Basically you cut up fruit and boil it with more or less sugar, pour it into jars, boil the jars, and enjoy summer as long as you can.
- 4 pounds peaches, rinsed, peeled, halved, pitted & sliced (easily peel peaches by dropping them in boiling water for a few minutes, then dropping them in cold water)
- 1/2 cup Grade B Maple Syrup (the oomph-ier big brother)
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup organic raw sugar
- juice of one lemon or 1/4 cup vinegar (champagne vinegar is nice)
- 1 split vanilla bean
- In a large enamel pot or Dutch oven, combine bourbon, 1/2 cup maple syrup, sugar, vanilla bean, and vinegar. As you pit & slice peaches, toss in the pot so they won't turn brown. When all the peaches are in the pot, set it over medium heat, and bring to a boil stirring frequently. Turn down heat and simmer, covered, until peaches are very soft and breaking down, about 45 minutes minutes. Remove vanilla bean, scrape the tasty inside flecks and return only the flecks to the pan. (you can put the remaining vanilla pod into your sugar bag. Carefully puree in batches in a blender, or better yet buzz it up right in the pan with an immersion blender.
- Sterilize jars, by submerging (well-cleaned) jars right-side up in boiling water for 10 minutes. To sterilize the lids and bands, place them in the pot of boiling water with the jars. You may re-use jars and the bands, but you must not re-use lids if you intend to process them for storage.
- Continue to cook the peach butter over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter has reduced to desired thickness. Taste and add more maple syrup, sugar, and bourbon if needed. Generally, you will want it to simmer until reduced by about half and it will mound up on a spoon, or stay in a contained mass on a cool plate. If it looks like sauce, or applesauce, cook it a bit more. Keep stirring up from the bottom with a wooden spoon so it does not burn or stick. I do this on a night that I'm home cooking, and on a very low flame it can take a couple of hours. Google about doing it in a slow cooker if you have one, and don't want to babysit it.
- Set out a couple of hot, sterilized jars (see note) on a folded towel on a countertop.
- Ladle the peach butter into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch of head room. Wipe the rims, and gently secure the lids and bands. Carefully lower jars into a big pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, starting the 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Transfer the jars to a folded towel on the counter and allow to cool at room temperature. After 1 hour, check the seals by pressing lightly on the tops to see if they are indented, and removing the bands from the jars, to make sure lids hold firm. If not, refrigerate that jar and eat promptly.