- 2 pounds ripe peaches, unpeeled
- 2 cups (1 pound) sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tea bags (I prefer Oolong tea)
- tiny pat (about ½ teaspoon) unsalted butter (optional, but helps with texture)
This small-batch peach oolong butter with subtle notes of a good oolong tea is excellent with toast or scones. I wanted to capture the taste of with a thicker texture. This one’s a winner! The only word that properly describes it is a ‘butter’ – this jam has the mouthfeel of apple butter, smooth and delicious.
While a true fruit butter is a sweet spread made of fruit which has been cooked to a paste, in this instance, I take a different path. I use sugar to draw juice from the peaches, add tea, cook the resulting mixture, and then puree it all with an immersion blender. Like all small batches, this goes together quickly.
start with the peaches
A note: peaches with slight bruising are okay to use, but cut out any dark brown bits. Rinse the peaches well, but don’t bother peeling them. Pit them, and cut them into small pieces, and put them in a large heavy-bottomed pot. (I used my favorite 4 qt pot, which was perfect for the task.) Add the sugar and lemon juice, then stir well, cover with a clean tea towel, and let stand 1 to 2 hours to bring the juice out of the peaches.
prep your jars
Put 4 8-oz jars in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the pot to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the jars stand. Wash the lids in warm water and set aside (see new procedures for jar lids!) Have the bands handy. Put a saucer or small plate in your refrigerator to chill (this will be for testing doneness.) Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess.
simmer the fruit with tea
When you’re ready for the cooking – you’ll need 45 – 60 minutes, no more – add the tea bags and a tiny pat of butter, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer the mixture until the fruit is translucent and cooked through. The smaller the pieces are, the faster this goes. When the fruit is all soft and tender, remove the pot from the heat, remove the tea bags, then whiz the fruit mixture with an immersion blender to make a smooth purée.
cook until thick
Return the pot to the heat, and bring it back to a boil. Stir often, because the jam is easy to burn if the heat is too high. Cook until the jam thickens and will pass the wrinkle test – this will go surprisingly quickly.
seal in a boiling water bath
Ladle jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, and apply lids and bands. Anything that won’t fit in your four jars can go into the clean custard cup – chill it in the fridge, this is perfect with yogurt or on toast for breakfast!
Process the jars in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.