Canning Lesson: Raspberry-Peach Jam

My friend, Sharon, invited me over for a canning lesson. My mom and grandmothers can each summer, but I’ve never been involved in the actual canning process–just the fruit and veggie preparation side of the operation.

During my lesson with Sharon we canned some Raspberry-Peach jam using her scrumptious recipe.

Sharon Z’s Raspberry-Peach Jam

1 (10-12 oz) package frozen red raspberries, thawed (should equal 1/2 c berries and 1/2 c plus a little of berry juice)
2 lbs firm, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (about 6 medium peaches)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp unsalted butter
6 c sugar
3 oz liquid fruit pectin

Put raspberries and juice in 1 quart measuring cup. Add enough peaches to make 4 cups of fruit. Place fruit mixture in a large saucepan and add lemon juice, butter, and sugar. Mix well.

Place over high heat. Bring to a full, rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly stir in fruit pectin. Stir and skim for 5 minutes to cool slightly and to prevent floating fruit.

Ladle quickly into hot, sterilized bottles, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe off any specks of jam from rim of each bottle. Put on lids and bands and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the hot water bath and listen for the lids (a.k.a. “seals”) to POP! to confirm the sealing.

Yields: 8 half pint jars

Sharon’s Tips & Notes:

  1. Microwave lemons for 30-35 seconds and then roll on counter before squeezing the juice. This maximizes the juice extraction.
  2. Boil peaches with peel on for 1 minute then immediately transfer peaches into an ice cold water bath to stop the cooking process. This makes the peaches easier to peel and will minimize the amount of fruit that is removed when peeling. Boiling the peaches also cleans them.
  3. The lids or seals can only be used once for canning.
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Peach Beehives

My dear friend, Erin, shared this recipe with me after our peach-picking outing. It’s pretty easy & super tasty. Each beehive is sort of like a slice of peach pie–except with proportionally more peach. YUM! We decided that this recipe was a keeper, and it is one that my family will look forward to each peach season.

First, wash the peaches. I prefer using an organic fruit/veggie cleaner, which I'm told removes stuff that water alone won't remove.

First, wash the peaches. I prefer using an organic fruit/veggie cleaner, which I'm told removes stuff that water alone won't remove.

Roll out your pie crust and slice into 1/2 inch strips. No need to pull out the ruler or worry about being ultra precise. Close enough is good enough.

Roll out your pie crust and slice into 1/2 inch strips. No need to pull out the ruler or worry about being ultra precise. Close enough is good enough.

Begin wrapping strips around each peach-completely covering the peach & overlapping the dough slightly during each revolution. Be sure to apply enough pressure to cause your strips to stick together; otherwise your beehive may unravel when it bakes. (Not like I would know, or anything...).

Begin wrapping strips around each peach-completely covering the peach & overlapping the dough slightly during each revolution. Be sure to apply enough pressure to cause your strips to stick together; otherwise your beehive may unravel when it bakes. (Not like I would know, or anything...).

Place your completed hives on your baking sheet. (I had a few strips of dough left over, so I rolled them into four mini beehives. Cute, huh?)

Place your completed hives on your baking sheet. (I had a few strips of dough left over, so I rolled them into four mini beehives. Cute, huh?)

Bake until crust is golden brown (mine baked for about 35 minutes). After pulling them out of the oven, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

Bake until crust is golden brown (mine baked for about 35 minutes). After pulling them out of the oven, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the beehive, and serve with ice cream. Take a big bite into that scrumptiously juicy peach!

Pour the sauce over the beehive, and serve with ice cream. Take a big bite into that scrumptiously juicy peach!

As I nibbled, I decided to try sprinkling cinnamon on top. I thought it really complemented the other flavors, so I'll probably do this from now on. Follow my lead, if you like.

As I nibbled, I decided to try sprinkling cinnamon on top. I thought it really complemented the other flavors, so I'll probably do this from now on. Follow my lead, if you like.

Peach Beehives

Beehives:

1 box (of 2) frozen Pillsbury pie crust (or make your own)
6-7 peaches

Sauce:

1/2 c butter
1 egg or 1/4 c egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
Pinch nutmeg
2 c confectioners (powdered) sugar

Cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 425.

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or grease with butter.

Let pie crusts come to room temperature before removing from wrapping.

Wash & dry peaches. Do NOT remove peach skin.

Once warmed, unfold crusts and flatten out. Cut into 1/2 inch strips. Wrap strips around peach, overlapping a little with each revolution. Cover entire peach. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 for 35 – 45 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

For sauce, melt butter over medium heat, being careful not to burn. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Put individual peaches in serving bowls, pour sauce over top, and serve with vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle beehive with cinnamon (optional).

Yield: 6-7 Beehives

Peach Nectar Chicken with Peach Barbeque Sauce

My husband made this chicken for me last summer for the first time, and we simply had to have it again with all of the fresh peaches we had on hand.

I love this technique because the meat ends up being uber juicy! The peach nectar BBQ sauce is something special, too.

Peach Nectar Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Steven Raichlan’s recipe in Beer Can Chicken, page 112

Rub:
2 tsps brown sugar
2 tsps paprika
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp canola oil

Peach Nectar Can:
1 – 12 oz can peach nectar
1 cinnamon stick

Sauce:
¾ c peach nectar
½ c ketchup
2 T peach or apricot preserves or pureed peaches
1 T honey
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T peach schnapps or dark rum (optional)
½ tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp liquid smoke
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste

¼ cup water

Rub & Grilling Instructions:
In small bowl combine rub ingredients to make the rub.

After removing giblets from chicken, wash bird and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle rub between the skin and meat on each breast and thigh. Rub oil over the body of the bird. Sprinkle remaining rub on the bird and distribute evenly. (To enhance the flavor, allow the “rubbed” chicken to refrigerate for a couple of hours).

Open the the can of peach nectar, & place the cinnamon stick inside. Place the chicken & the can on the chicken roaster, or directly on the grill (balanced on the can and chicken leg bones).

Place chicken on grill and cook over medium heat until the interior temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving. Serve with Peach Barbecue Sauce.

Sauce Instructions:
Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan, and gradually bring to a boil over medium-high heat. (Note: all measurements are approximate and should be adapted based on individual taste and preference). Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until thick (about 8 to 10 minutes). Stir often. Serve over Peach Nectar Chicken.

Peach Cobbler

My brother and his girlfriend gave me The Lady & Sons’ Just Desserts cookbook last fall when I was still in the throes and woes of morning sickness. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to eat another dessert again. I can assure you that I can certainly enjoy desserts (and food, in general) again, and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with some of the recipes in this cookbook. Everything has been delicious, so far, and this cobbler recipe is no exception. Thank you, Paula Deen! This is hands down THE BEST peach cobbler I’ve ever eaten.

Note: The recipe calls for self-rising flour. This is NOT the same as All-Purpose flour, and if you substitute AP flour alone, your crust will NOT rise. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, learned this the hard way. Bless her heart!

So, dear, nameless friend–this is basically what your cobbler will look like next time…. 🙂

If you don’t have any SR flour on hand, take heart–all is not lost! There are lots of opinions on how to turn AP flour into SR flour, and I’m not sure which is best. I’ve used Betty Crocker’s recommendation when I’ve been in a pinch, and it’s worked well for me: 1 c AP flour +1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp baking soda. Since this recipe calls for 3/4 c SR flour, you can a) figure out your own measurements if you’re a math whiz, or b) mix the above mentioned cup’s worth of flour & components together & then only add 3/4 c to your cobbler, or c) do something else.

The Lady & Sons’ Peach Cobbler
The Lady & Sons’ Just Desserts by Paula Deen, page 128

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar

3/4 c self-rising flour
3/4 c milk
1 28-oz can sliced peaches in heavy syrup, undrained (or use fresh if available; see note below)
cinnamon for sprinkling (optional) (use only with peach or apple cobbler)

Preheat oven to 375.

Place butter in oven in a 2-quart baking dish to melt. Stir sugar and flour together and mix well. Slowly add milk and continue to stir to prevent the batter from lumping. Being careful not to burn yourself, remove hot baking dish containing melted butter from oven; pour batter directly over butter in baking dish (DO NOT STIR). Spoon fruit on top of batter, then gently pour syrup on top (DO NOT STIR). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if using. The most important part of this dish is not stirring the mixture. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. Your batter will rise above your fruit, producing the most wonderful of crusts. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Note: If they are available by all means use fresh peaches. In a saucepan, mix two cups fresh preach slices with one cup sugar and one cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. An almost equally good product is frozen peach slices. Simply follow the instructions for the fresh peach slices.

Serves 8

Freezer Jammin’ with Peaches

I decided that this was the year that I should give freezer jam a shot. I’m not sure why I never tried it before. Maybe I thought it would be too hard or too time consuming. I don’t know. One of my sisters-in-law tried it for the first time this year, and she assured us that it was so easy! I decided to give it a whirl with my fresh peaches.

Growing up, my mom always made strawberry freezer jam, and we loved it. Between Mom’s freezer jam and Grandma’s other jams and jellies, we were set in that department. In fact, I don’t remember ever eating “store-bought” jams or jellies when I was growing up. Maybe, I tried them at a restaurant…I don’t remember. Oh well, college changed that for me for sure, but I’ve never found a store-bought jam as good as homemade.

Instead of just trying one freezer jam, I decided to dive right in and try a couple. I certainly had enough peaches…. Below are the recipes I used for Raspberry-Peach Freezer Jam & Peach Freezer Jam.

Turns out, it is easy! I’ll have to do this again next summer during berry season. I can now mark this off my list!

Raspberry-Peach Freezer Jam
Recipe from SURE.JELL

3-1/2 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1-1/2 pt. fully ripe red raspberries and about 1-1/4 lb. fully ripe peaches)
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin

RINSE clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.

CRUSH raspberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. (Press half of pulp through a sieve to remove some of the seeds, if desired.) Measure exactly 2 cups prepared raspberries into large bowl. Peel and pit peaches; finely chop or grind the fruit. Measure exactly 1-1/2 cups prepared peaches into bowl with the raspberries. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)

FILL all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

MY NOTES: I didn’t remove any of the raspberry seeds, and the jam seemed fine to me. I don’t mind seeds, though. My containers were bigger than the standard 6-ounce plastic, freezer containers, so I left more than 1/2 inch space from the top of the container. Also, I couldn’t bring myself to add 7 whole cups of sugar! So, I opted to add 4 c sugar and 3 c Splenda. Next time, I’ll probably try adding even more Splenda and less sugar.

Erin’s Peach Freezer Jam

3-1/2 c peaches
2-1/2 c sugar
1- 3 oz package of peach Jell-O

Mash or puree peaches to desired consistency. Mix with sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Boil peach-sugar mixture for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Remove from heat. Stir in Jell-O.

Immediately pour into clean plastic, freezer containers. Fill to within 1/2 inch of top of container.

After jam has cooled, store in refrigerator and/or freezer.

MY NOTES: I used sugar-free peach Jell-O instead of regular. I like my jam to have some good-sized chunks of fruit in it, so I don’t puree too much. I’m more of a roughly-chopped kind of girl. Erin says that she also uses this recipe for strawberry freezer jam.

Multigrain Waffles with Peaches and Cinnamon

I love breakfast foods–morning, noon, and night. I love ’em!

And waffles are right up there at the top of the list.

A few years ago, I had some work to do in Europe for a couple weeks. For the weekend, my friend & co-worker, Annalise, & I decided we wanted to hang out in Belgium. Once we got over the trauma of trying to locate our hotel among some confusing streets in Brussels, we enjoyed a truly wonderful weekend. What could possibly be bad about a country that has “waffle time” every afternoon? Yum!

This waffle isn’t one that you’ll find people snacking on in the streets of Belgium, but it is very hearty and very healthy. I like them with fresh fruit on top, syrup (fruity or maple), or local honey. On this particular day, I topped mine with my fresh peaches and cinnamon. The cinnamon really enhanced the peach flavor, so I’ll be doing this from now on.

Multigrain Extravaganza Waffles
from “waffles” by Betty Rosbottom, page 23

1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c spelt flour
1/2 c oat bran flour (see Note)
1/4 c roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 c rolled oats (not quick oats)
3 T packed light brown sugar
2 T flax seeds
2 T millet seeds
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c milk
2 large eggs
8 T (1/2 c) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Preheat a waffle iron, and if you plan to hold the waffles until serving time, preheat the oven to 200.

In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sunflower seeds, oats, brown sugar, flax and millet seeds, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and eggs until completely blended.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk/egg mixture, blending gently only until the ingredients are combined. Add the butter in a slow stream, continuing to blend until the butter is incorporated.

Pour a generous 1/2 c batter (or more, depending on the size of your waffle iron) into the waffle iron and, using a utensil that won’t melt or that won’t scratch your waffle iron, spread batter to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Close the cover, and cook approximately 3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Serve the waffles immediately, or place them in a single layer on racks in the preheated oven while you finish with the remaining batter.

Serve the waffles with the topping of your choice.

Yield: 6 or more 6 1/2 inch waffles. Serves 4 – 6.

Note: If you can’t find oat bran flour, you can substitute oat bran cereal.

How Do You Like Your Peaches?

Recently, our family joined some friends at a local orchard for peach picking. We had a blast and returned home with a half bushel of peaches. Each item above (with the exception of the ice cream & the cider that we instead enjoyed at orchard) is how we got through our box with zero spoilage!

So, how do you like your peaches?