August has started the same every year since I can remember.  Extreme anticipation and a long car ride through the mountains. A place that lingers in my memory; a place that I wait for all year long. It started with a honeymoon 54 years ago and it still continues four generations later.  Traditions remain the same now as they did when I was young, and further still beyond my time.  We watch the newer generations walk the same paths as we did with an eagerness to share the same lasting memories we made growing up. 

    There is a freedom, a quietness that somehow creates a place unlike any other.  Perhaps it is the lake nestled between rolling mountains, crowned with weeping willow trees.  Perhaps it is tied to the memories hiding behind every corner or rock that takes us back to a time devoid of responsibilities and commitments.  There are many puzzled by our longing to visit the same vacation spot every year, but there are plenty more that share our interminable desire to recapture those treasured days and weeks.  This is my thirtieth visit and the third year I have enjoyed watching my children capturing memories of their own.  They throw rocks in the stream, feed crab apples to pigs and hunt for frogs around the lake.  They love the animals most of all which makes me dream of the day we will be able to raise our own in a space we love equally.  But for now a small extra trip to this place in September will keep my heart content.       
    August is also the reminder that fall is just around the corner.  Tomatoes finally ripen on their vines.  Flowers are blooming everywhere adding even more color to an already vibrant landscape.  There is still time to play in the backyard sans clothing for my little boys.  It is undeniable to imagine what it must be like, something we all secretly would love to do ourselves.  Swing rides in the shade of the setting sun over the top of the houses.  Watering the last of the vegetables on their way to eventual frost and decay.  I still manage to get a few handfuls of string beans, plenty of kale and one little late kohlrabi.  One broken tomato plant gleefully becomes a bowl full of green tomatoes safely tucked away for pickling.  Ever increasing amounts of canned fruits and vegetables overwhelm my kitchen and dinning room.  This is the start of my favorite time of year.    
    August is also the peek of peach season for us in New Jersey.  Last year I made a small jar of peach butter that was so quickly demolished that I vowed to make more this season.  Peach butter is so incredibly easy to make and lots of fun to experiment with.  Try different spices, different honey, or different variations of peaches with or without skin.  Since there is no need to have it set like jam or jelly, all you have to do it wait until it boils down to a considerable thickness.  And no need to can if you don't want to.  Make up a small batch and keep it in the refrigerator, but don't say I didn't warn you about how fast it will disappear.  

Peach Butter with Honey & Cardamom

4 pounds of peaches, pitted, skinned and chopped (I use white peaches because they are my favorite)
10 oz of honey
1-2 teaspoons ground cardamom (optional)
Juice from 1 lemon


Pit and peel your peaches.  I always make sure my peaches are very ripe so I can peel the skin off without the need to blanch them.  If your peaches seem a little to firm then follow these directions to blanch and peel them.  Roughly chop the peeled peaches and place them in a large non-reactive pot with very high sides (you might need a splatter screen too!).  Add the honey, cardamom and juice from 1 lemon and stir to combine.  Let the mixture macerate for 1-2 hours, allowing the juice to release.  At this point bring the peach mixture to a boil over medium high heat.  Allow the mixture to boil for 10-15 minutes.  Then finely blend the mixture with an immersion blender or transfer to a stand mixer or food processor and blend until very smooth (or feel free to leave a bit of texture if you prefer).  Return the puree to the pot and continue to boil the mixture until it becomes very thick, about 30-40 minutes more. 

How do you tell if your peach butter is finished?  You could perform the freezer test, or see if it will hold its shape in a spoon.  Peach butter is more like a sauce then jam so it will be loose, but it should not be watery.  At this point you can pour your butter into jars and keep them in the refrigerator (you might want to half the recipe if you want to go this way) or continue proper canning procedures and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Now all that remains is what to put your peach butter on.  I love to mix it in with yogurt or cottage cheese.  Smear some on biscuits, make some ice cream, or heck right out of the jar is good enough some mornings.



Now back to canning tomatoes...

 


Comments

Nancy Long
08/22/2013 1:19pm

Thanks For the Peach Butter recipe. I enjoy reading your recipe's though I don't always write. This story line hits close to my heart as I am part of the family who follows in the adventures and traditions that remain to this day and I'm sure beyond. My travels are a bit longer so I can't be there every year though I feel we are in spirit. Love the pictures and you all.

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08/22/2013 5:04pm

Thanks Nancy...we always keep you with us through memory when there is a year you can't make it. Although I miss hanging around the park or pool just talking with you. Maybe some year soon we will get to have you up!!! Love you all lots!!! XOXO

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08/22/2013 6:25pm

Must. Make. Peach. Butter. Immediately.

Seriously, this sounds so good right now. First things first, I have to go peach picking :)

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08/22/2013 7:26pm

Keep repeating those words Chris...keep repeating!!! (And heck yes, get out and pick some of your own)

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08/23/2013 12:11pm

I feel the same about family traditions and cherisch ours very dearly. The canning virus has also caught up with me...it a small attempt so preserve some of the summer goodness :D Thank you for the recipe! I've got some very ripe peaches at home and now I know what to do with them :)

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08/23/2013 4:05pm

Thanks Emma! Canning has become an obsession, but a good one at that. I have been trying every variation of peach butter I can think of because we go through preserves and jam so quickly. Hope you enjoy :)

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Kerry
08/23/2013 5:37pm

Sakes alive! I think that is how that expression goes. I wish I had access to peaches! I made some apple butter this year (first time) from the tree in our yard. I am convinced that green tomatoes could easily take the apples place in the recipe. Happy harvesting.

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08/23/2013 5:44pm

Sakes Alive...I like that Kerry! (I had to look it up of course) I am so jealous of anyone with fruit trees. We planted two honeycrisp apple trees in our yard but with a 5 + waiting time for fruit I don't think we will ever get to see an apple. Apple butter is also one of my favorites...we are just getting into apple season in the next few weeks...so it will definitely be my next task.

I wish you had access to peaches as well, they are so amazing when you can pick them off of the tree!!! Never will I buy a peach from the store again.

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Kate
08/23/2013 7:29pm

Your peach butter recipe looks AMAZING! I'm curious though, are you using ground cardamom or whole cardamom? I'm guessing ground because you would probably have added an instruction about getting the whole seeds out after cooking/before canning, but I just wanted to be extra-sure! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

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08/23/2013 8:26pm

Hi Kate...yes I have been using ground cardamom. I will actually make an update to the post. Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention.

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Kate
08/24/2013 2:13pm

Awesome! Thanks for the reply, I do love cardamom... wouldn't want to mess this up since I'm still kind of new at canning. Thanks again! :)

08/26/2013 1:06pm

THIS LOOKS INSANELY DELICIOUS :) I should try it, thanks for sharing

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08/26/2013 3:26pm

Thanks Farida! Let me know if you try it and like it :)

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08/26/2013 4:18pm

This peach butter sounds wonderful! I frequently combine these flavors but I haven't thought to make a jam/butter with them. Thank you for the inspiration and fantastic visuals.

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08/26/2013 4:46pm

Thanks Rose! Glad I could lend some inspiration :) I love cardamom and peach together!!!

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Zelda
08/27/2013 11:55am

I'm making the Peach Butter today. How long do you think it will keep un opened ?

Reply
08/27/2013 12:13pm

Hi Zelda. If you can your peach butter it will last up to 1 year. It probably would last longer then that, but most people will tell you that they only keep homemade jams and preserves for up to 1 year.

But if you choose not to can then keeping it in the refrigerator will depend on what and how much sugar you use. If you go with honey like I do then the peach butter might only last a few weeks in the refrigerator. If you use traditional sugar in equal amounts then it will last longer. If you plan on keeping it in the refrigerator instead of canning be prepared to use it!

Hope this helps :)

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Zelda
08/27/2013 3:45pm

Well I'm cooking it stove top now. Still seems watery after 45 minutes and will not pass the spoon test yet. I just need to be patient LOL

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08/27/2013 4:17pm

Hehe...yes patients is very hard...I'm with ya on that one!!! Just keep going...I normally notice that when it is ready it will begin to really bubble and splatter a lot.

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Zelda
08/27/2013 4:46pm

It's Done ! And it taste amazing ! I'm looking forward to gifting them out for the holidays. Thanks for a great recipe.

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08/27/2013 5:00pm

Yay...I'm so glad you like it. I'm sure whoever you give them to for Christmas will be thrilled. I've already gifted a few of my jars.

Oh...and the butter will also get a little bit thicker when you put it in the refrigerator.

Thanks for letting me know how it went Zelda!!!

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08/30/2013 12:37am

Mmm...this looks fantastic. Love the cardamon :)
Absolutely beautiful photos- you're making me miss summer already (especially cute, shirtless little kids in swings...sniff sniff) xo
PS- do you like the Ball or Wreck jars better?

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08/30/2013 11:55am

Hey Emilie....I actually use Ball jars exclusively. The weck jars are actually much better and much nicer but they are very expensive. I just use them for myself or for pictures.

I'm going to miss summer too...but the best season is Fall in my mind :)

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08/30/2013 4:21pm

Wow, these photos are great, and your peach butter sounds amazing!

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08/31/2013 2:01am

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look Carol :) Peach butter is one of my favorite things to make at the end of summer!!!

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09/04/2013 11:49am

Thank you! Stunning photography and interesting recipes!

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09/06/2013 11:39am

Oh this recipe sounds wonderful! I am currently brimming with peaches and have only ever had butter or fig butter. Can't wait to try this!

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09/06/2013 11:40am

apple or fig butter****

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09/06/2013 12:08pm

oooo....fig butter sounds delightful...I haven't had that!!! Peach butter has to be my favorite though!!! I love the smell and taste of white peaches. I will be enjoying it all winter long :)




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