Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Peach Preserves

I will forever remember the first time I made Peach Preserves as the night Irene came to town. The rain, the gusting winds, the constant flickering of the lights, and the hopes that the power will stay on just a little longer so that my peaches would be fully cooked through (as well as my dinner). The price of having an electric stove.

Since I was home all day, I figured I would take a stab at crossing something off my summer to-do list (that really has yet to be touched).

Label and organize photos: started
Read The Help: 330 pages in
Read On The Road: Yeah.. Good Luck
Make a light box for when I take photos: Might help if I had a box to use...
Put all CDs in their rightful cases: Boring
Cut up Bon Appetit Magazines from '09 and '10: What if the lights go out?
Clean Out Computer: Boring
Corn Gelato: To time consuming, but sounds amazing
Go through Room: A constant project & ... boring
Freezer Jam
Peach Preserves

The last two options were neither boring or too time consuming. I decided to give them a go. While I have made freezer jam one other time this month, it did not have the right texture. I was fearful of it being too soupy and therefore it got this really strange, almost grainy texture. I am using the jam for a filling for my cousin's wedding cupcakes and I need to get it right! But that is another post, for another day.

Today is all about the Peach Preserve! I had a friends once who used to call her Grandmother 'Grandmom Peaches'. I just learned the other day that she called her Grandmom Peach because......... She made peach preserves! How did that one never process?

In the same issue of Bon Appetit where I got the recipe for the zucchini pickles, there is a fabulous recipe for 'Lord Grey's Peach Preserves.' The recipe uses Earl Grey tea bags to give some depth and floral flavor to the peaches. I however, did not have earl grey tea bags. I used good old Lipton Black Tea, and the flavor was spot on for me! I did both cut down and alter the recipe so the recipe I am giving you is my very own Peach Preserve recipe, cooked by following the directions from Bon Appetit.

Peach Preserves
5 Large, Ripe Peaches
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Black Tea bags

(also requires 2 - 12 ounce mason jars

Bring a deep pot of water to a boil. Cut a small, shallow 'x' into the bottom of each peach. Blanch the peaches until the skin loosens (about 1-3 minutes). Transfer the peaches into a large bowl full of ice water. Allow them to cool.

Peel, halve, and pit each peach. Cut them into slice about 1/3 inch thick.

Combine the peaches with sugar and lemon juice and allow them to stand for 30 minutes. (I chose to do this step in the same pot I was planning to cook them in. I saves one step and also saves a dirty dish!)

Place a small plate in the freezer (*now!* I made the mistake of waiting and the plate was not cold enough for me to test).
If you do not already have your mixture in the pot you wish to cook them in, transfer them over and add 1 tea bag to the pot.
Cut open the second and pour its contents into the mixture.

Bring to a boil, stirring gently every now and then and cook for about 15-20 minutes. To test the doneness, take the plate from the freezer and spoon some of the mixture onto the plate. If the mixture does not run, your preserves are ready!

Remove the tea bag and skim off any foam that may be on the surface. Ladle the preserves into your clean jars, wipe rims, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Canning is the best way to preserve a little bit of summer for the rest of the year. I look forward to waking up one day in January, with snow on the ground, and being able to pop open my can of Jersey Fresh Peach Preserves. How can it get any better than that?

Readers - Have you canned before? What do you enjoy canning the most? And most importantly of all, once the can is popped open, how do you enjoy your preserves? As a topping for waffles or pancakes? Spooned on top of pound cake or ice cream? Straight out of the jar with a big old fork?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't done any canning but am definitely interested in it!