Peach Butter is definitely the best way to save that peach flavor until long after the peaches have disappeared. This recipe is super simple, and it tastes so much more peachy than just peach jam or preserves.
Peel the peaches. Cut a small “X” in the bottom of each peach. Gently drop each peach into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds, remove the peach from the boiling water with a slotted spoon, and place them into a bowl of ice water for a minute. The peels should slide right off.
Roughly chop the peaches, and remove the pits.
Add the chopped peaches to a heavy pot along with the water and sugar. Heat on medium, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat slightly and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly, until the peaches are completely tender.
Stir in the lemon juice to the peaches, and, working in batches, puree the fruit until it is completely smooth. Pour the peach puree through a mesh strainer, and push it firmly with the back of a spoon to get all the puree through. Discard any lumps.
Wipe out the heavy pot, and put the puree back into it. Bring the puree back up to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook gently stirring almost constantly so the puree doesn’t burn, about 30-40 minutes, until it’s thickened, and reduced by about half.
The longer you cook the puree, the thicker the butter will be. It's ready when it starts to darken in color, and when you stir, it starts to leave trails in the mixture. Test it by dipping a spoon in, and then run your finger down the spoon, if the butter doesn't fill in the strip, it's ready.
Ladle the hot peach butter into squeaky-clean jars, and let cool before refrigerating.
The peach butter will thicken as it cools.
Makes about a quart or 4 cups. To refrigerate, allow the butter to cool, place the cap on the jar, and keep the butter in air tight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks. To freeze, pour the peach butter into freezer-safe containers leaving ¼-inch headspace, allow to cool, and pop it in the freezer for up to 6 months. To can, pour the hot butter into sterilized glass jars and leave ¼-inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean dry towel. Close lids to fingertip-tight. Process the peach butter in boiling-water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat; remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. If canned properly, the peach butter should last almost indefinitely at room temperature. Crock Pot: if you’d like to make it in the slow cooker, simply put the peeled peach chunks, sugar, water, and lemon juice in the bowl of the crock pot, and cook on high for about 3-4 hours. After that time, remove the lid, and stir. Continue cooking for 1 hour, uncovered. Allow the peach butter to cool slightly. For a chunky butter, it’s done. For a smooth butter, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, or use an immersion blender. If it isn’t thick enough, pop it back into the crock pot and continue cooking, uncovered, until it reaches desired thickness.