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Adventures in Cooking…Preserves

Posted by Dalia on September 4, 2012 in Food |

So recently I took advantage of Bountiful Baskets. It’s a pretty cool food co-op that is available in cities throughout the US and I’ve heard great things, so why not? One of the yummy additions in the basket of produce we received last week was cherries. While I love cherries and my Collin is a huge fan as well, I wanted to try something different. We had recently bought a box of peaches (someone was over-reaching here thinking he could eat them all…Collin LOL) and I decided instead of waiting until the peaches went bad I’d try my hand at making preserves. Cherry and peach preserves…yeah, I could do this. Off to the internet I went to find some recipes.

Okay, so I must admit the two reasons I’ve never attempted making jams, jellies or preserves. First, I’ve never had an abundance of any fruit for me to work with and second, it really did look kind of intimidating. Everything I saw involved boiling jars or something to seal them up, etc and it just made me back off. But seeing as I only had a little under two pounds of cherries and about 10 peaches, I found I could skip that step. I just simply was not going to make enough preserves to necessitate long term storage of the sweet results. Yay for me! :-)

So I found that all I really needed to make my preserves was sugar, my fruit and some pectin. Lucky for me Kenny was out and about and headed to the grocery store so I just texted him to pick up some pectin for me. Another yay for me, didn’t need to head out for ONE item. :-) A great and easy recipe came across my radar that I could use on both the cherries and peaches. The only difference between the two preserves I made was I added some spices to the peaches to make it into Peach Cobbler Preserves. I also reduced the sugar by half because all the recipes I found called for way too much sugar. Yuck, my teeth were hurting just reading the darned things. So here is my tweaked recipe for the preserves I made…all approximate measurements, of course, because I’m really bad at not measuring ingredients which drives Kenny crazy. LOL I mean he seriously stands there having a fit as he watches me, it’s so funny.

10 peaches, pitted and chopped (I found I like big pieces, about 3/4 inch)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 large lemon
one pkg of pectin

Add peaches to pot with sugar & lemon juice, mix well, cover and let sit for one hour. Did I read up on why…no, should have. LOL But I’m thinking after seeing the results after this step it’s because it helps break down the fruit nicely for the preserves, nice and sweet. :-)

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After the one hour, add vanilla and spices and bring peach mixture to boil over medium high heat for about 20-30 minutes.

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Get that fruit nice and soft and cooked through. Yummmm…smells amazing. I used my potato masher (or bean squasher as we called it growing up :-) ) to break down the fruit some. Nice and cooked after 20-30 minutes, add your pectin. Let mixture boil for another couple of minutes and remove from heat. I let it cool for about 10 minutes and then transferred to my clean jars. My jars? Recycled from some store bought goodies, of course. :-)

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Full disclosure now…we finished off that first smaller jar within a couple of days. And yes, that second jar is already being worked on, it’s that good. You need to try it on some toast. Yum, yum, yum. I am so happy with the finished results. It was so much easier than I thought and happy we didn’t let those peaches go to waste. I used the exact same recipe for my 1 3/4 pounds of fresh cherries. Just pit those suckers and omit the spices. So far we’ve had the cherry preserves on corn bread as a snack and with some jambalaya. Yep, it worked. :-) So I’m definitely keeping this recipe in my personal cookbook to try out and use on any other abundance of fruit I bring into my home.

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