Fresh Peach BBQ Sauce
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Summers are always frantic around here, starting in late May or early June when the blackberries come ripe. By the time they are all harvested, over the period of about 4 weeks or so, the white peach tree comes ripe and we are scrambling to deal with the abundant peaches the dwarf peach tree gifts to us. In late July, the two nectarine trees come ripe, and shortly after that, the poor abused and kind of ugly peach tree demands our attention.
Everything around here goes into jars. The blackberries become preserves, or jam, or even a BBQ sauce (yes, and it is delicious!). The white peaches do everything the "regular" peach tree does, except it's not necessary to skin the peaches before using, because the skins are so delicate and flavorful. This year the white peaches became preserves, jam, sliced and in a low-sugar solution, and a peach chutney that promises to be something special with pork! The nectarines are a bit of a pain to work with, as it is necessary to remove the skins, and even with the boiling water dip/bath, they are awkward to work with. But the peaches... ah yes. Worth every bit of effort.
Around here those peaches become preserves (really just a jam with lots of chunks of fruit), jam (the skinned and pitted fruit is tossed into the food processor to make a mostly smooth consistency, and quarts of peach pie filling (so easy with a product called Clear Jel!). This year we tried something a bit different—peach BBQ sauce.
We started with a recipe by Williams-Sonoma and put a bit of a twist to it. Because peaches are so abundant, we used a bit more than the original recipe calls for.
You will need a large non-reactive sauce pan or Dutch oven, two large bowls, ice (or frozen cold packs—they are perfect for blanching fruit and vegetables, as the water you use after blanching needs to be super-cold for best results), slotted spoon, food grater, paring knife, measuring cups and spoons, blender or immersion blender, 4 pint Ball or Kerr jars, with lids and rings, ladle and funnel. If you are going to get serious about preserving fruit and vegetables in jars, you will want to invest in canning tools and a canning pot.
4-5 pounds ripe peaches (we went on the heavy side)
generous 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (but you can use bottled)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (can use more according to your taste, no need to chop them up in tiny pieces)
1-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup bourbon or water (we used Jack Daniels because we had it on hand)
generous teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste (can add more if you desire)
2 tablespoons fresh peeled ginger, grated
2 tablespoons chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
* Important: sterilize jars and lids. We wash our jars in the dishwasher and keep them warm until ready to use. Wash rings with hot soapy water and boil lids in a small saucepan just before using.
- Remove the skins and pits of the peaches. Here's how. Chop peaches and toss in lemon juice. (We ended up using six cups of coarsely chopped peaches.)
- Heat oil in a non-reactive pan (I love to use this Le Creuset Dutch oven for all of my preserving!), and when oil is hot, add the coarsely chopped onions. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
- Stir in peaches, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, bourbon (or water) and a generous teaspoon of soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a bit.
- Blend the mixture, a batch at a time, in your blender, or better yet, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.
- Return the pureed mixture to the Dutch oven or saucepan. Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, grated ginger and chili powder. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Combine, return to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. On a large burner, start bringing your water bath to a boil.
- Remove from heat and immediately ladle into sterilized jars, wipe rim of jar so the ring doesn't stick, and Immediately apply lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
- Remove processed jars from boiling water, place on towel on countertop. Leave jars to cool and seal. You will hear a reassuring "ping" as each jar seals. The BBQ sauce is good for a year when stored in a cool, dark place. If a jar doesn't seal, place in refrigerator and use within a month.
We were feeling so confident after we made this batch that we made another, using plums with a couple of minor modifications. We were out of bourbon, tomato sauce and fresh ginger. We had fresh tomatoes, ketchup, dried chiles and liquid smoke. So we added 5 Roma tomatoes, 3 dried (seeded) red chiles and 4 dried (seeded) Serrano chiles to the skinned and pitted plums to cook, added a small amount of water and after the puree step, added two tablespoons of powdered ginger and a small splash of liquid smoke.
Both have been used on oven-baked chicken to marvelous yummy results. We can't wait to try either on baby back ribs!