Ahh…the last days of summer. This may be my very favorite time of year. Beautiful hot days give way to cooler evenings and the air feels just a little different. You can sense that fall is just around the corner. Farmer’s markets and orchards are overflowing with delicious local produce and I can’t help myself, I always buy as much as I can. Just check out this gorgeous basket of freestone peaches I snagged at the orchard last weekend! My head was spinning with all of the things I could do to preserve them, but slow cooker vanilla peach butter was on the top of my list!
Last year, I made some applesauce and some apple butter in my slow cooker and was so pleased with the results, that I could not wait to give peach butter a try. I wanted the peach flavor to shine through and not be overpowered by spice. I opted to use some aromatic vanilla beans and the results are uh-may-zing! This recipe could not be easier (no peeling peaches!!), and although the cooking time is long, you do not have to babysit the butter as it cooks, so hands on time is minimal.
In the instructions, I will walk you through water bath canning as one option for storing your peach butter. I love to plan ahead for holidays or birthdays with homemade gifts and fruit butters or jams are always well received, not to mention those jars just look so darn pretty!! However, if you do not wish to can you peach butter, feel free to portion it out and freeze it in small jars or baggies. Your call, it’s delicious either way!
My slow cooker is on the smaller side (about 4 quarts), so if you have a larger slow cooker, you may need more fruit than I call for in the recipe. Also all slow cookers heat/cook a little differently. Although stirring is optional, I would periodically check the consistency of the peach butter to determine when it is done, and not rely solely on cooking time.
I hope you can find a big basket of peaches and give this recipe a try and keep in mind that it makes a great gift!
- 30-40 freestone peaches (You may use more or less, depending on how big your slow cooker is and also the size of the fruit.)
- 2 vanilla beans
- Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. You do not need to peel your peaches for this recipe (woo hoo!).
- Place as many peaches as you can fit into your blender or food processor and blend, stopping when the fruit is still slightly chunky, you do not need it to be completely smooth.
- Pour the contents of the blender or food processor into your slow cooker and repeat until the slow cooker is filled about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way full.
- Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and remove the seeds, adding them to the slow cooker with the peach puree. Toss the vanilla bean pods in as well.
- Place two wooden spoons or two chopsticks across the top of the slow cooker and then place the lid on top of them, venting the lid.
- Turn the slow cooker to low and let it cook down for 8-12 hours, checking occasionally to determine if the butter is done. You may want to let it cook overnight and then plan to can in the morning.
- When the peach butter reaches a thick and scoop-able consistency, remove the vanilla bean pods, grab your immersion blender and puree it to an even consistency. Now it's time to can!!
- If you have canning equipment, cool - use it! If you don't just grab your largest stock pot, fill it with water, and place enough of the screw top lids in the bottom of the pot to create a support for the jars.
- Wash 8-10 half pint jars and place them in the stock pot or canning pot. Bring the water to a boil and let the jars sterilize in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Place brand new canning lids in a bowl. Once the jars have boiled for 10 minutes, carefully remove one with canning tongs or regular tongs and pour the hot water inside of it over the canning lids.
- Remove the rest of the jars to a cooling rack or a towel and fill them with the hot peach butter. Fill to about 1/2 inch from the top of the jar and remove any large air bubbles with a knife.
- Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean dry towel and place a heated lid on the jar. Screw on a band to finger tip tight - don't over tighten!
- Once all the jars are filled, place them carefully into the boiling water in your stock or canning pot and let them process for 10 minutes. You can do this in batches if they don't all fit together.
- After 10 minutes, remove from the boiling water and place on a cooling rack or towel and let the jars sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. If all went well, you may hear little pops as the lids suck down onto the jars, sealing in all of your peach butter goodness. After resting for about an hour, poke the top of the lid to make sure it has sealed down. If you have movement in the lid, it did not process correctly and you will need to refrigerate and use the contents.
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