Isn't that picture a nice sight? It's from Front & Main, a great blog from West Elm, and that's Saving the Season peach butter. I'm sorry I haven't told you about this already, but I've been so behind on everything because of apricot season...
Let me go back a step: earlier this year I was tickled pink to get a call from West Elm, and we talked about giving catalogue readers and Front & Main readers a few recipes to go along with West Elm's collection of kitchen essentials, including wire-bail jars and lots of other stuff you need for saving the season. I liked the idea of quick jam and fresh pickles—that is, things that don't need to be canned in a boiling-water bath, but can instead be stored in the fridge. In the summertime when it's so hot outside, sometimes you just don't want to bother with the water bath.
This recipe, for fruit butter, can be adapted to whatever fruit you have: peaches, plums and apricots now, or, in the months ahead, pumpkins, persimmons and winter squash.
4 to 5 pounds of pumpkin, peaches or persimmons
optional: spices, bourbon or brandy
1 Peel the fruit and cut it into ½” chunks. Place it in a pot with enough water to cover the bottom ½” deep. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft.
2 Mash the fruit with a potato masher or pass it through a food mill. Measure the puree and note the quantity. For every cup of puree, measure ½ cup of sugar.
3 Add the puree and sugar to a large pot. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until reduced by half — 30 to 45 minutes. You’ll know the butter is ready when a spoonful chilled in the freezer for one minute doesn’t leak liquid at its edge.
4 If you like, stir in 2 teaspoons bourbon or brandy, or add ¼ teaspoon of ground spice. Taste and adjust to your liking.
5 Ladle the hot fruit butter into airtight glass or plastic containers, filling to within ¼” of the top. Put on the lids, allow the containers to cool and store in the refrigerator. Use within a month.
Yields about 2 pints