Preserve the Harvest: Peach Basil Caramelized Onion Preserves

Peaches and Cream Cheesecake PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: LET’S TALK PEACHES

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…peaches and Peach Basil Caramelized Onion Preserves.

Preserve the Harvest: Peaches LET’S TALK PEACHES

When to Buy Peaches

Peaches are a summer seasonal fruit that are at their peak from mid June to mid September depending on the region you live in. Warmer climates like California, Georgia and South Carolina’s season starts earlier. Idaho, Washington and other Northwest states season starts a little later and extends further into September.

Where to Buy Peaches

When buying peaches it is best to buy local. The best tasting peaches are those that have not been picked too early. This is harder to find in grocery stores where peaches have had to travel hundred of miles before reaching the store. Out of necessity peaches are picked early to ensure they make it to the market  before ripening. Once peaches have been picked, they will soften but the sugar content remains the same as when the peaches were first harvested. The longer they are on the tree the sweeter and juicier they become. 

How To Choose Peaches

Choose peaches that are firm but yield to gentle pressure. Peaches bruise easily so hold them firmly in the palm of your hand to test, not with your fingers. Great peaches have a pleasant peachy aroma. Avoid peaches with a green cast. They were picked too early and may soften but taste will be greatly affected.

Storing Peaches

Store ripe peaches in the refrigerator and eat within a few days of storing for best flavor. Unripened peaches should be stored at room temperature. Be sure to pay close attention. Peaches can go from ripe to rotten very quickly. Once peach has begun to soften and becomes fragrant it’s time to eat it or put it into the refrigerator. If you have purchased peaches that are very firm and want to hasten the ripening, place the peaches in a paper bag with a banana. Place a few holes in the bag to provide plenty of ventilation. Check often and place in the refrigerator when peaches soften.

Preserve the Harvest: Peach Basil Caramelized Onion Preserves Preserving Peaches

Peaches lend themselves well to canning, freezing and jams and jellies of all kinds. When canning or freezing it is best to use blemish free, firm peaches. To remove skin easily from peaches place peach in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, remove and plunge into cold water. Skins should easily slip away from the peach. Cool slightly before cutting to help retain as much juice from the peach as possible.  For more information on how to freeze and can peaches see a few of my favorite links below.

How to Make Homemade Frozen Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Plums, Figs, Nectarines and Cherries

How to Make Homemade Canned Peaches, Plums, Pears, Plums, Nectarines and Cherries

PEACH BASIL CARAMELIZED ONION PRESERVES

I love the fresh summery taste of peaches in the peach basil caramelized onion preserves. The basil, peach and sweet onion blend together in one harmonious burst of flavor. I literally could open a jar and eat it with a spoon until every last bit disappeared. Try it spread over a softened cheese with crackers, baked in a tart for a savory treat, or spooned over a pork loin to fancy up an entree with little effort. 

SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED

The following recipe is processed using a water bath canning process. If you have never canned before or need a refresher the National Center for Home Food Preservation is the gold standard of information. I would encourage you to head over and read their general canning information.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Peach Basil Caramelized Onion Preserves
 
Ingredients
  • 10 medium peaches, peeled and sliced into 8ths
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 16 leaves of basil,cut into thin ribbons
  • 6½ cups raw sugar
  • 2 tsps sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
Instructions
  1. Heat grapeseed oil in large nonstick skillet over med. high heat.
  2. Add onion slices and cook, stirring occasionally until onions begin to soften and color. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir to prevent sticking while preparing peaches.
  3. Place peaches and ¼ cup water into large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until peaches have softened.
  4. Add raw sugar, caramelized onions, sea salt , pepper, lemon, and basil to peaches.
  5. Return peaches to a low boil and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  6. Allow peaches to continue to boil until thickened. (about 30 to 45 minutes depending on water content of peaches)
  7. Once thickened remove from heat, fill sterilized pint jars leaving ½ inch headspace.
  8. Wipe rim of canning jar and apply lid and band.
  9. Process in hot water bath for 10 - 15 minutes depending on elevation.or place preserves in refrigerator.
  10. Makes about 4 pints.

Recipe adapted from the cookbook Homegrown Pure and Simple: Great Healthy Food from Garden to Table (afiliate link) by Michel Nischan: Summer Peach and Caramelized Onion Jam 

Peach Basil Caramelized Onion Preserves shared with:

God’s Growing Garden: Tuesday’s With a Twist *Create With Joy: Wordless Wednesday  *Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays **Recipes for Our Daily Bread: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop *Hot Mama’s Kitchen: The Yuck Stops Here *Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday *The Paper Craze: Creative Spark * The Cookie Puzzle: Party in Your PJ’s  *A Savory Feast: Humpday Happenings *Gingerly Made: Show and Tell *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Sweet Haute La Dolce Vita *Grow a Good Life: Green Thumb Thursday *Living Well Spending Less: *Thrifty Thursday *Organized 31: Inspire Us Thursday   *Juggling Real food and Real Life: Let’s Get Real  *Nancherrow: Fridays unfolded *It’s Your Life: Real Food Friday *Kitchen Dreaming: The Weekend Social *Snippets of Inspiration: Weekend Wind Down Link Party *Natasha in Oz: Say G’Day *Recipes: Savoring Saturdays *Sadie Season Goods: Snickerdoodle Sunday

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves

Today finds me sitting in my favorite chair where I do most of my writing. It is the most comfortable one in the house and is great on my poor, suffering back when I need to be still for any length of time. The windows are open, a nice breeze is blowing and I am pondering upon great and deep universal truths. Actually, to be more accurate, I am wondering how I am going to write about Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves. It’s a great topic all by itself, I know, but I have a hankering to write, to be creative. And while Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves are right up there with Chaucer and Hemingway it doesn’t seem to satisfy. So… my mind wanders to headier things; preserves lead to preservation and preservation leads to thoughts on self-preservation. Voila; a topic I can sink my teeth into…not unlike my Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves. Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves So I will put the tasty, delicious, and the easiest Low Strawberry Sugar Preserves you will ever make on hold for a moment, and contemplate the concept of self-preservation that is rampant in our society today. It seems to me our Western culture is consumed with this notion of self-preservation. We see a need to guard, protect, preserve, shield, maintain ourselves and our “things” at all costs. “Self, Me, I,” is what’s important here. The thought that I must accomplish this great thing, or that great task, to be worthy and acceptable is a pretty common school of thought amongst us. Not surprisingly, I think we have got it all wrong.

Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves

I would be remiss not to mention the topic today is on Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves and the real reason why I am writing this post. I digress only because the preserves are really very lovely and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the fact that they are made with only fresh strawberries, lemon juice and a scant amount of sugar in comparison to most other jams. Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves “Ahem… where was I?”  Ah yes; self preservation. I think we have got it all wrong in our culture today. Self-preservation; holding on to who we think we are and what we think we need is actually in itself counter-productive to truly living. When we are so concerned about ourselves, all our thoughts turn inward; closing us off to the life around us. We become so busy grasping for survival, getting what’s coming to us, joy somehow is left out of the equation. One climbs the ladder to success, only to find it is leaning on the wrong building. It is empty, hollow and doesn’t satisfy.

Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves

I think true self-preservation is in letting go; living in the moment no matter what comes along. I happen to believe in a God that loves me and I know that he will provide for me, just because he said he would. Tomorrow’s financial picture may not always look rosy, but He hasn’t failed me yet. Simple trust and giving oneself away is the key to preservation. It is not “Self,” but God who meets my needs. Today’s culture may think I’ve lost my marbles. So be it. I choose to place my trust in Someone more reliable than me.

Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves

One of the secrets to this tasty Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves is in the way it is cooked. Each day for three days the preserves are brought to a boil and then the heat is backed off for a nice little simmer. This allows for the natural pectin in the fruits to step up slowly and take over making a nice preserve that isn’t cooked to death. The strawberries remain whole and the flavor is amazingly fresh. I like to add fresh ground black pepper for an unexpected pop of flavor, but feel free to leave it out if it is a little bit too adventurous for you. If you like a sweeter preserve add more sugar. Just be aware that the thickening process may be a bit faster and adjust your simmer time accordingly.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves made with simple ingredients create the best tasting fruit preserves you may ever eat. Whole berries swim in every spoonful. Perfect on a fluffy biscuit or baked in a tart.
Serves: 4 - 4 oz jars
Ingredients
  • 6½ cups small to medium sized strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp freshly ground cracked black pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. First Day: Place cleaned and hulled whole strawberries in large non-aluminum pan. Add sugar, stir well. Cover and allow strawberries to sit for 4 hours to allow the sugar to dissolve and to draw juice from the berries (can sit overnight, if desired). Once sugar has dissolved and bowl has accumulated juice from the berries, place pan over medium heat, add cracked pepper (if using) and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (foam may form on preserves when cooking. Don't worry, as it sits it will dissolve, leaving preserves bright and beautiful) Once berries have come to a boil, reduce heat to bring the berries to a hard simmer, cook 15 minutes more. Cover, remove from heat and allow berries to sit over night.
  2. Second Day: Return pan to medium heat and bring once again to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep the berries from sticking. Once boiling, reduce heat to a hard simmer, cook 10 minutes more. Cover, remove from heat and allow berries to sit overnight.
  3. Third Day: Return pan to medium heat and bring once again to a boil, stirring continually to keep the berries from sticking. Once boiling, reduce heat to a hard simmer continuing to stir, cook 5 minutes more. Remove preserves from heat. At this time you can process your preserves as you would for jams and jellies in a hot water bath or place jars into the refrigerator.

Low sugar Strawberry Preserves shared with: 

The Sits Girls: Saturday Sharefest *Natasha in Oz: Say G’day *Create with Joy: Inspire Me Monday *My Pinterventures: Merry Mondays * Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brags *Pluckys Second Thoughts *The Sqishable Baby: Mommy’s Monday Blog Hop *Tumbleweed Contessa: What’d you do this Weekend *21 Century Housewife:  Hearth and Soul *Memories by the Mile: Treasure Box Tuesday *Lou Lou Girls *Detours in Life: Tickle Me Tuesday *Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesday’s *Crafty Spices: Wordless Wednesday *The Shady Porch: Party on the Porch *Foody Schmoody: The Wednesday Roundup *Oh My Heartsie Girl: What I Made Wordless Wednesday *Sweet Haute: Sweet Haute Share Link Party

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”