Saturday, September 17, 2011

Millions of Peaches

This morning I woke up, after our first weeks of school, to a beautifully cool morning. It was before anyone was awake and perfectly quiet. My favorite. I put on a sweatshirt and sat outside with a book and coffee (and the dogs). I can't believe how fast summer has gone. Now everything is starting over again. Bittersweet. I love it, though. Really, I do. The newness of September in school. New students, new supplies, new personalities. It is going to be a good year. Before I even started reading, I was sitting, sipping, and thinking I realized that I had better get going on my to-do list of putting things up for winter. It is coming, ready or not. I still have bags of strawberries and blueberries in the freezer for me to make jam from, bags of zucchini to bake bread and freeze and peaches... I got about 30 pages in when everyone woke up (32 to be exact). Then, just like that, the day started.

Abundance is great, wonderful even. Finding the time to get everything done is more challenging. This is the weekend, let's get it done.

It all started with this:

But I decided to focus on this:


Peaches.

One thing at a time. I wanted peaches in a light syrup and something new - peach honey. Doesn't that sound delicious? Yes, peach honey. I am imagining my self in those months of February, March, April opening up a jar of peaches and voila! A little taste of summer. That should help those cold, dark months, right? I thought so. That's my motivation. I think it is as good as any.


For this project I eliticed the help of my partner in crime, Tracy (my husband). We peeled peach after peach and quartered them. (Saving the peach peels for the peach honey...)







We cooked them in some medium syrup and canned them up. Beautiful.





After we cleaned up the mess, it was time for peach honey. This honey uses up the extra peels and syrup. It really does taste like honey infused with peach flavor. Yum. I found this recipe on PickYourOwn.org and thought it was a great use of the extra ingredients.

Peach Honey
recipe modified from Pick Your Own

Peach peels (we had 28 peach peels)
Leftover peach syrup
sugar
1/3 package of pectin
6 1/2 pint jars with lids

First you need to make peach juice. You do this by covering the peelings with water and slowly cooking them in a covered saucepan until they are super soft. After that you can put them in a cheesecloth bag and press to remove all juice. According to Pick Your Own, the goal is to remove large chunks. I didn't have cheesecloth so I used a colander and it seemed to do the trick.

Next, you pour the peach juice in a saucepan and heat over medium to high heat. When it boils like crazy, Pick Your Own says to add the sugar at the rate of one-half as much sugar as juice. Then your goal is to boil it down.

Quick fixes from Pick Your Own include:
If it doesn't thicken, you can mix 1/3 of a packet of pectin with 1/3 cup of sugar and mix it in. That will thicken it. Or you can cook it down in a Crockpot overnight, on low. (I did end up cooking mine over night in the Crockpot and it turned out pretty good.)

After that, pour the honey into clean jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Put the lids on and process in the waterbath for 15 minutes.

So far I have used it on toast and I think I am going to try to make granola with it. It would also be delicious mixed in drinks.


(This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Real Food Wednesday, What's On Your Plate Wednesday, Tuesday's at the Table, Traditional Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Monday Mania, and Homestead Barn Hop.)

6 comments:

  1. You are amazing, Erika! I don't know how you do it all...my favorite peach confection is the pecan-peach butter from Fredericksburg Farms, which I discovered on the way to your parents'. You and my friend Kim have inspired me...next summer, I'm learning how to preserve. Take care.

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  2. Pecan-Peach Butter sounds wonderful! We should give that a try, next summer:). Glad you had fun in San Angelo!

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  3. Erika, I am slobbering all over the keyboard as I type this. PEACH HONEY!!! If that doesn't sound like nectar of the gods I don't know what does. Your photos are making me long for peaches. Your words are making me long for peaches. And nary a peach in sight. (and a daughter home sick). It's gonna be a loooong day. Hhahahah

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  4. Your peaches look delicious. My Grandma used to serve canned peaches for dessert. I might have to give it a try some day.

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  5. Daily Dish - I had that exact same reaction when I found that Peach Honey recipe:). hahaha Thanks for reading our blog!!

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  6. Casa De Luna - Canned peaches were not too hard. It just takes some time to peel them. Canned peaches are delicious!

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