Apple Butter and Pickled Peaches
Pickled peaches? Kiddin right? Nope, seems pickled peaches are not only real but they have lots of recipes on line. We decided today was a good day to do a batch of apple butter so Mrs J trudged off to the local orchard stand to fetch some. She came back with a sack full of Gayla apples that the fellow told her were good for apple butter. She also picked up a bag of Honey Crisps and another of peaches.
I got started on the apples for the butter right away, sent them through the processor in batches and then started them cooking in a big pot. This time I cooked the whole apple, core and skin alike, and then ran the result through a food mill. Supposed to be a lot of natural pectin in the cores. The applesauce that resulted began the long simmer.
Now, the peaches needed some work. We discussed peeling and freezing, baking pies, etc etc. I mentioned the pickled peaches recipes I saw while browsing the other night. Seemed as good a project as any. We used this recipe today. Stuck pretty close to it save for substituting Splenda for the sugar. Didn’t have the cinnamon sticks so we used the ground, just added it right to the syrup. Blanch the peaches and the skin slips right off. LOL–Not for me it didn’t. Would have saved time and trouble to have just peeled them. “Yer doin it wrong”…”you come n do it then”…”naw, yer doin OK enough”.
Anyway, they weren’t pretty but we got them into some jars. Smelled great! We decided to use the same recipe on the other apples. I peeled and cored them, and cut them into quarters. Cooked them in some of the syrup left over from the peaches-adding more sugar, vinegar, and water. Also sprinkled in more cinnamon and some more whole cloves. We started with 5 pounds of peaches and 5 of apples and we got 4 quarts total out of the lot.
We used more than 10 pounds of apples for the butter recipe. It simmered atop the stove for about 8 hours today and was getting pretty thick when I filled my jars. We got 3 pints and 3 half pints, plus another scant half pint when I scraped the pot down. That last little bit will go straight to the fridge. It may be the best batch yet. A quick run down on the stats for the batch: 10# apples plus about a quart and a half of apple cider cooked and milled out to 4 quarts of applesauce. I added 3 cups of Splenda, one cup of cane sugar, one teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Worked like a charm. I added 3 packets of the “no sugar needed” pectin to the batch at the finish, but I think I didn’t need to. It was so thick I had to scrape it off the ladle.