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Baked Peach Butter

12 Cups sliced peeled pitted peaches
4 Cups water
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 Cup honey or sugar -- to taste


To peel peaches easily, drop in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drop in ice water. Peels should pull off.


Combine sliced peaches and water in an 8-quart enamel or stainless steel pot and cook over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the peaches are soft. Stir frequently to prevent the peaches from sticking. When the fruit is tender, add the honey or sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine. Put the peach mixture through a food mill or puree in a blender or food processor.


Divide the puree between two shallow, 9- by 13-inch baking or roasting pans. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Continue baking, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes, until the butter is thick. This will take an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The peach butter will be thick, fine-textured and a rich, reddish-amber in color.


Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water; sterilize jars in boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions. Ladle hot peach butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Cover with lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 5 minutes.


This recipe yields 3 half-pint jars.


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