Friday, July 25, 2014

A Plethora of Peaches

Wow we are really getting close to having this baby! I have been so uncomfortable this week that I am just ready to get it over with and meet my little girl. Luckily I have lots of things to do to take my mind off the pregnancy. For example, I have had to find ways of using up the gigantic box of peaches I bought at the farmers market last weekend! We buy peaches from Pearson Farm all Summer long, they are seriously the best peaches ever! Peaches also happen to be one of my very favorite fruits so when our peach lady told me last week she could give me a deal on a big box of scratch and dent peaches I jumped at the chance. This gave me about 50 very ripe peaches that I had to find something to do with right away.

Well it just so happened that my Birthday was last week and I got a bunch of canning supplies and a canning cookbook so the time seemed right to try my first ever (unassisted) foray in to canning. I have a good friend who kindly showed me the basics of canning last winter so between her tutorial and the instructions in my book it wasn't too difficult however it was very hot! It's a shame so much canning needs to be done in the Summer, I think I'll wait until cooler weather and maybe do apple sauce next time :-) This time around I made canned peach slices in vanilla syrup. I haven't tried them yet but they have every appearance of being delicious and I was thrilled that I was successfully able to seal the jars and complete the water bath canning process with no incidents. We also froze some peaches for smoothies, left plenty whole for snaking, and used some for making peach simple syrup.

I won't go in to instructions for the whole canning process at this point (maybe some other time when I have more energy!) but I do encourage anyone who is interested to try it some time. It seems intimidating but it really isn't that bad once you learn the basics, I am definitely excited to try it again! The peach simple syrup was so, well.... simple, to make that I will tell you how to do that though! it's also a great way to use up your leftover peach peels.

To make the peach simple syrup you take all your left over peach peels and put them in a large sauce pan. Put in enough water to cover the peels and bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain peels and any solids by poring the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and measure the remaining liquid. Return the liquid to the pot and add as much sugar as you have liquid (this uses a LOT of sugar, I actually didn't have enough in the house so I had to short mine a little but it still turned out fine so if you want to reduce it a bit you could). Return mixture to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Store in an air tight jar or bottle in the fridge.

I have been mixing my simple syrup with club soda to make a sort of peach soda and it is delish! We've also used it in peach milk shakes and has worked quite well but I bet it would be really delicious in a cocktail. Maybe I'll have some left for after the baby is born and I can try it in an alcoholic beverage then :-)

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