Lazy Peach Preserves

more lazy peach preserves

When I teach classes, I’m often asked about peeling fruit. I typically tell people that I always peel peaches and apples, but leave the skins on nearly everything else. However, it looks like I might have to revise that statement, because the preserve I’m about to tell you about includes unpeeled peaches. Shocking, I know.

This particular recipe came about when I became the proud owner of both 10 pounds of cherries and a half bushel of rapidly ripening, very sweet, yellow peaches about ten minutes before I was leaving town for 2 1/2 days.

peaches

Both boxes of fruit were courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission, the folks behind the most fabulous website Sweet Preservation. When I signed on to be a Canbassador again this year, I didn’t realize that it was going to converge with the cherry challenge. Still, I am not one to shirk a canning challenge and so, when I got back to town, I went to work.

I made eight half pints of peach chutney (more on that tomorrow). I cooked up a smallish batch of honey-sweetened peach vanilla jam (look for it on Thursday). And I made these unpeeled, but very delicious, peach preserves. I also ate a whole bunch of these peaches just plain and raw (good lord, were they amazing).

I washed four pounds of peaches well, doing my best to rub away most of the exterior fuzzy. Then, I cut them into wedges, covered the fruit with 1 1/2 cups of honey, added some thin ribbons of lemon zest, and stirred it all together. It sat for an hour or so, until everything was juicy. Then I scraped it into a pan, brought it to a boil, funneled the peaches into prepared pint jars and processed them for 20 minutes (I used the processing time recommended by the NCHFP for pints of peach halves and slices).

peach slices

It’s hard to tell from the picture of the jar up at the top of the post, but the peach slices are still quite distinct. My vision for these jars is that I’ll eat them with yogurt and granola or with oatmeal for breakfast later in the year. I often eat those same things with fresh, unpeeled peaches during the summer months and never mind the peels, so my guess is that I won’t mind them with the peels when they’re coming out of a jar. Here’s hoping that will prove to be true!

Though it seems kind of hard to believe, this is the fourth year that I’ve been one of the Washington State Fruit Commission’s Canbassador. Last year, I made Oven-Roasted Nectarine Butter and Luisa Weiss’s Spiced Plum Butter. The year before, it was Italian Plum Jam with Star Anise and Honey-Sweetened Apricot Lavender Butter. And if you go all the way back to that first year, I made Apricot-Blackberry Jam and Pickled Sweet Cherries. These boxes of fruit have led to some very good eating over the last few years.

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The Sur La Table Preserving Box + Giveaway

Quattro Stagione jars

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I take a certain amount of pride in being on top of all things canning. I like to know about the preserving cookbooks that are in the pipeline. I do my darnedest to be aware of any tools that are being marketed with canning mind. And I want to have canned in every jar out there, so as to be able to answer questions with some level of knowledge and understanding.

Progressive International canning kit and Le Parfait jars

So, when the folks at Sur La Table got in touch to ask if they could send me a box filled with some of the canning gear they sell in their store, of course I said yes (after all, I had to see if there was anything out there that I didn’t know about!).

The package arrived a little more than a week ago and contained an assortment of the Quattro Stagioni jars (the three sizes I got were .5 L, .25 L, and .15 L) a pair of these Le Parfait jars (these were new to me and I adore them! They’re the same style as used by Bonne Maman), and the box of canning essentials made by Progressive International (I wrote about these tools here).

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The other thing that Sur La Table sent me along with this box full of goodies was a PDF fact sheet full of current statistics about local food, farmers market shopping, and canning and preserving. There was one particularly hunk of data that I found particularly interesting (that’s the image you see above).

I’ve always noted that when I teach a jam class, I mostly get women participating. The percentage of men goes way up in my pickling classes. It’s neat to see the numerical breakdown of something I’ve long observed.

Progressive International tools

Because it’s Monday and that’s giveaway ’round these parts, I’m going to share some of this goodie box with one lucky reader. I’m giving away the Progressive canning tools that they sent me (the lid lifter is the best one I’ve found) as well as the set of four .15L Quattro Stagioni jars they sent. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me about your favorite jar, about something you’ve canned this summer, or your most beloved canning tool (we’re taking the grab bag approach this week).
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, August 23, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 25, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Sur La Table sent me this box of canning goodies for free. I’m choosing to share out some of its contents with one of my readers. I did not receive monetary compensation for this post and all opinions expresses are entirely mine. 

Upcoming Classes: Philly! Brooklyn! Maryland!

class image revised

Though the summer is starting to wind down, there are still lots of opportunities to take a class or catch a demo. Here’s what’s coming up over the next couple months!

August 20 – Spicy Tomato Chutney at Greensgrow in Philadelphia. Class is from 12 – 2 pm and costs $35. Click here to sign up!

August 24 through 26 – Then, I’m spending this coming weekend teaching the last three classes in my preserving series at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York (though there is talk of adding a few more fall classes). These classes are two-hour, hands on sessions. You’ll go home with a juicy packet of canning info and a jar or two of preserves. Prices vary depending on the topic.

August 24, 2 – 4 pm (tomatoes)
August 25, 2 – 4 pm (jam)
August 26, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (tomatoes)

September 7 & 8 – I’m doing a pair of free canning demos at the Central Farm Markets in the Maryland. On Saturday, I’ll be at the Pike Central Market from 10 am to 12 noon, demonstrating my small batch canning technique (I’ll also have books to sell and sign). On Sunday, I’ll be at the Bethesda Central Market from 10 am to 12 noon, doing the very same thing. Hope some of you can come.

September 14 – Tomato Jam at Indy Hall! In this class, we’ll make a batch of tomato jam and talk about all the ins and outs of canning tomatoes. Both boiling water bath and pressure canning will be discussed. Class is 11 am – 1 pm and costs $50. Leave a comment or email me to sign up.

September 19 – Tomato canning basics at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville, PA. Class runs 6:30 – 9 pm and costs $60. Click here to sign up.

October 12 – Spiced Apple Pie Filling at Indy Hall! This class will give students an opportunity to help peel, chop and process 10 pounds of apples down into a batch of fragrant, spicy apple pie filling. Class is 11 am – 1 pm and costs $50. Leave a comment or email me to sign up.

October 19 – Canning at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. The morning class will be a jam making session, featuring a batch of pear vanilla jam. The afternoon class will be a make your own pickle party, starring water bath processed pickled carrots. Times, fees and registration links coming soon.

October 26 – Canning demo and book signing at the Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue in Center City Philadelphia. Demo starts at 1 pm and I’ll be available to sell and sign books until 5 pm.

October 29 – Chutney making class with the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. We’ll make a batch of apple pear chutney (using all local fruit) from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room. Click here to sign up.

 

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Links: Pickles, Salsas, Dill Heads, and a Winner

doling out lemon juice

This past week was another intense seven day stretch, filled with classes, workshops, demos, deadlines, and finishing off a round of editing on the next book (it’ll bounce my way again in about a month, but I get a little time off for now). You might have noticed that posting was mighty slim around these parts last week. Happily, this week is shaping up to be a bit less frenetic and next week, I’m headed out for nearly a week of vacation! Let there be good times ahead!

Mrs. Wages mixes

mrs wages august winner As always, many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Mrs. Wages tomato mix basket giveaway last week. The winner is #338/Jordan Watts. Congratulations Jordan, I hope you find these mixes useful!

I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another giveaway, so make sure to check back then!

 

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Blackberry Jamtini from Growing a Greener World

Jamtini7_Final

As you all well know, nothing delights me more than discovering a new way to put my jams into action. I use them to sweeten smoothies, pour the runnier batches over yogurt, make vinaigrettes with them, and use the to glaze roast meat. So, when Theresa Loe, master food preserver and Co-Executive Producer of the gardening show Growing A Greener World, emailed to ask if I wanted to participate in a virtual cocktail party in which every drink would include some jam, of course I said yes.

GGW_Jamtini_BlackberryClose

She looked through my archives, picked out my blackberry jam and invented a custom cocktail featuring that particular preserve. It includes fresh blackberries, raspberry lemonade, simple syrup, vodka, sparkling water, and a goodly dollop of blackberry jam (sounds pretty darn good right about now). Here’s what Theresa said about the recipe:

This recipe would work with any of your blackberry jams. I bet the apricot-blackberry would be divine! I prefer seedless jams because the seeds tend to clog up the shaker strainer. But if you have seeds in the jam, it still works. It just takes a little jiggling to get all the liquid through the strainer and into the glass. For a non-alcoholic version, simply skip the vodka and add an extra shot or two of lemonade. Easy-peasy!

 Visit the Growing a Greener World site for more Jamtini recipes and links to the other party participants. For a quick demonstration of the art of the jamtini, make sure to watch the video embedded below. To check in on all the jam cocktail action on Twitter, follow @GGWTV and the hashtag #Garden2Jar


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Giveaway: Mrs. Wages Tomato Mix Basket

Mrs. Wages mixes

Last Thursday, I went to the farmers market to pick up my second half bushel of apricots for the season. While there, I entered an altered state of preserving confidence and ended up also buying a flat of grape and cherry tomatoes. In my defense, they were just $15, which is an unheard of bargain for 12 pints of tiny tomatoes.

I tell you this story simply to illustrate the fact that tomato season is upon us. And what better way to get ready for tomato season than with a Mrs. Wages Tomato Mix giveaway!

Mrs. Wages basket

You combine your fresh tomatoes with these mixes (they all have instructions on the back of the packet) and suddenly you’re a salsa, pasta sauce, and bloody mary star. I’ve used several of these mixes in the past to great success. They’re particularly helpful in that moment when you’re overwhelmed by tomatoes and need to do something that doesn’t require a great deal of thought.

Here’s what the basket contains:

3 – small packages of pizza sauce mix
2 – mix and serve Classic Salsa packets
2 – small chili seasoning packets
1 – Spiced Carrot Juice mix packet
1 – Bloody Mary mix packet
1 – mix and serve Chipotle and Garlic Salsa packet
1 – mix and serve Guacamole packet
1 – mix and serve Pepper Jack Queso packet
2 – Large Pasta Sauce Packages
2 – Large Ketchup Packages
1 – Chili Base Package
1 – Large Pizza Sauce Package

If you’re interested in a chance to win this giant package of tomato canning goodness, here’s what you do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite way tomato memory! (Note: I had a copy and paste failure last night, and so for the first 12 hours this post was live, it asked for a berry memory. Oops! Those entries are still valid, but let’s switch to focusing on tomatoes.)
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, August 17, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 18, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: I am a paid contributor to the monthly Mrs. Wages newsletter. However, this is not a paid giveaway and my opinions remain my own.