Vine Peach Apple Butter

This is my first year growing vine peaches, and after lots of research trying to find recipes and having not much turn up, I decided to try a few concoctions myself. Vine peaches grow on a vine (very prolifically, I might add) in the summer, are the size of a small peach, bright yellow in color when ripe, and have a mild flavor. I had read that they can be used interchangeable with apples to make apple pie or apple butter.

And what better way to use my vine peaches than to make apple butter? I love making apple butter, and every time I can a batch, we eat through it in no time! It has the perfect mix of apples and cinnamon in a warm mash that makes me smile just to think about :) 

While vine peaches can be used interchangeably with apples in this recipe, I wouldn't use more than half as vine peaches because of their mild flavor (not quite as tasty as the granny smith apples) and they take a little longer to break down when cooking than the apples. If you don;t have any vine peaches, this recipe works just as well with all apples. In the picture below, you can see the size and color of the vine peaches in comparison to the granny smith apples.

Here's what you need:

- 4.5 lb. granny smith apples and vine peaches (combined- any ratio desired but I recommend more apples than vine peaches)

- 4 cups apple cider

- 2 cups sugar

- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

- 1/2 tsp. ground all spice

- Canning jars and canning supplies

Peel, core, and cut the apples into wedges. For the vine peaches- peel, cut them in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and cut into wedges. Boil the apples and apple cider on the stove for 30 minutes until tender. Puree the apples with a hand blender, or if yours is broken (like mine) the mixture should be soft enough to smash with a wooden spoon or potato masher.

Add in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer until your desired thickness (about an hour and a half). 

You can eat it as is and keep it in the refrigerator, or can it for later. Ladle the mixture into sterilized jars*. This recipe makes 3-4 pints.

*To sterilize jars, place them upside down in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. After closing the jars, wait until they cool, and the lids should pop down in the center to show that they are sealed. If any of the jars don't seal, just put them in the refrigerator and use those first. Sealed jars should be good for up to a year.

Yep, it really is that simple! And I love the way it makes my house smell when I make this stuff. If only there were a way to bottle up this smell! I guess I will settle for caning the taste :)

Spring into Fruit Trees!

I love spring! First of all, the weather is so nice and warm- all of nature is bursting with new growth and energy and you can't help but join in by rolling up your sleeves to dig in the dirt. My vegetable plants go in the ground early, but the first signs of spring are in the fruit department. This always gets me excited, because every flower equals one fruit that I will get to harvest and eat later! 

Fruit is so expensive to buy, but so good for you! We go through a lot of fruit at our house. One of the best investments in our yard has been putting in fruit trees. They easily pay back your investment after just a couple of harvests but will keep producing for years and years. Currently in our yard we have 5 blueberry bushes, Crabapple, Fuji apple, Baldwin pear, Hood pear, grapevine, blackberry vines, Meyer lemon, satsuma, grapefruit, kumquat, and pomegranate. I know it sounds like a lot, but we enjoy them so much that we just ordered 3 more dwarf trees! Here are a few of my favorite sights in spring...

Our Balwin pear bloomed for the first time this year, which means we will get our very first harvest of pears in late summer/ early fall. Some little pears are already forming!

The mulberry was our first fruit tree. Here are some little berries on our mulberry tree. Mulberries don't technically bloom- they have little curly hairs on them for pollination purposes. I don't mind as long as the tree is covered!

Blackberries everywhere! So many little flowers with bees buzzing all around to pollinate each one. I have let the vines take over the entire back fence and we will probably get about 8 lb. of berries this year. I can already taste the summer berry smoothies :)

Satsumas (a kind of citrus) will have a heavy production year followed by a light one. This is our heavy year, and the tree is absolutely loaded with blooms.

I just love the little purple flowers on the lemon tree. So dainty and cute! And they smell like honeysuckle :)

Blueberry bushes don't have very showy blooms, but look like little white bells. Our bushes are still young, but put out a good amount of berries.

These pink Fuji apple blossoms make me smile. This is another tree that we will get our first fruit from this year. So exciting!

What is blooming in your garden right now? Anything promising some delicious treats later? I just love that I'll already be enjoying fresh fruit while my vegetables plants are just getting rolling. Hello, spring! It's been a while...