Thursday, August 23, 2012

Putting Up Peaches

The law of unintended consequences, first coined as such by sociologist Robert Merton, is defined as "outcomes that are not the ones intended by purposeful actions." This principle can be seen at work when one unsuspecting woman affirms in an off-handed manner, "Sure, we can leave for the beach a day early," to her dear boyfriend. 

An example of an unanticipated outcome is that she will then have to spend an entire evening canning and freezing 40 pounds of peaches. 


I kind of hated peaches by the time I was nearing the end. 


First up was peach salsa. Made from mostly peaches, but with one red pepper, one onion, spices, and 4 jalapenos. I recommend seeding the jalapenos first, despite the recipe failing to mention the incredible spice levels that will result if you don't. Lesson learned. 


Then I made peach barbecue sauce, which was very similar in composition to the peach salsa, but with more honey and other savory barbecue spices. 

By chopping the peaches very finely, they broke down into a thick sauce after a slow simmer.   


And three quarts of halved peaches in a Bourbon simple syrup, where I wondered, maybe I should make one without booze? Then I thought, is there ever an instant where I'd want booze-free peaches? ...Nope! 


And for the rest of the peaches, I froze them, sliced in a simple syrup. I knew tackling jam after all these other recipes was unwise, so now I'm free to make peach jalapeno jam from frozen peaches later. 

I will say, as Vrylena (who also bought a case of peaches) notes, that peeled peaches are very slippery. So prepare to cover your kitchen in peach juice and therefore at least triple your kitchen's fruit fly population. 

Recipes below!


Peach Salsa
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

6 cups chopped pitted peeled peaches
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/4 cup chopped red onion
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 ground cumin
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and heat for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Ladle hot salsa into hot 8-ounce jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Apply two part canning lids and tighten until fingertip tight. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Yield: about 8 8-ounce jars (I got 7 1/2)

Peach Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

6 cups finely chopped pitted peeled peaches
1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/4 cups honey
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot pepper flakes (I substituted in a jalapeno for some of the 1 cup of sweet pepper)
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and heat until sauce is thickened slightly, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes more.

Ladle hot sauce into hot 8-ounce jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Apply two part canning lids and tighten until fingertip tight. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Yield: about 8 8-ounce jars

Peaches in Spirited Syrup
Adapted from National Center for Home Food Preservation 

For medium simple syrup:
(For other syrup ratios, such as heavy or light, visit NCHFP)

8 1/2 cups water
3 3/4 cups sugar

Combine water and sugar in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.

Peel, pit, and halve peaches, placing the peaches in the prepared syrup as you work. Bring peaches in syrup back to a boil. Pack peaches into quart jars, cavity side down. Add 2 tbsp bourbon, whiskey or rum to quart jars.

Cover peaches with syrup, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles, remeasure headspace and adjust as needed. Apply two part canning lids and tighten until fingertip tight. Process in a hot water bath for 25 minutes.

Makes enough for 3 quarts of peaches and 4 1/2 quarts of peaches frozen in syrup.

Freezing Peaches

From National Center for Home Food Preservation 

Peel, pit, and slice peaches and place into leftover syrup. Fill freezer grade quart bags, being sure not to overpack and leaving room for expansion. Label and date bags and freeze. Use within one year for best quality.

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