Today I bought two boxes, about 22 lbs, of peach seconds for $16.00 at the farmer's market. I have been trying to snag some all season but they're always sold out or I walked there without a wagon. This time I brought my bike and trailer. Still, it was two trips, one to buy the buggers and another to leave the kiddos with The Hubby and pick up those peaches.
Tonight those bruised and somewhat *cough* moldy beauties are being transformed into peach butter using my favorite method, overnight crockpot cooking. I would have taken pictures but:
1) I was trying to do this with a toddler and baby in tow and
2) I'm pretty un-squeamish when it comes to how many bruises I leave in my fruit, but maybe someone would take offense to it. All the moldy parts were cut out, scout's honor.
Speaking of having babies and trying to preserve food I often think, "How did the pioneers do this? And preserve enough to eat all winter?" The answer, they didn't. They all starved to death and we are descendants of an invading alien tribe.
Actually, all joking aside, I think they enlisted more help from their little ones than we modern parents do. I'm sure at 2.5 years old BuggaBoo would have some pretty important jobs on a frontier farm, including taking care of his little sister. But I wonder if they really had a childhood? I'm not saying our way is better or worse, just different. We have the luxury of allowing our children to be children.
Anyway, back to actually making the stuff. I first cut out pits and bad spots. Then I just cut them into smaller chunks and throw them in my blender, skins and all. Then I put them in my crockpots with spices and cook them on low all night with the lids propped so the puree can reduce to a butter. For more detailed instructions click on the link above.
I chose to make butter this time around rather than jam because I didn't want to be boiling substances around Doozer (she was on the counter in her Bumbo and she has quite the reach), so I'll process the butter tomorrow when The Hubby can help me out. Also butter doesn't take pectin, so it's that much cheaper to make. Also also I don't like to use a lot of sugar because of The Hubby's diabetes and with butter you can get away with not using a lot of sugar. I do have some no-sugar-needed pectin (thanks Mommy!) but tonight I just wanted something tried and true.
So if you want, sometime this winter come on over and I'll cook up some amazing fluffy pancakes and dollop some peach butter on top. If you can handle the fact that it was made with bruised fruit.