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.

 

Preserve the Harvest Series: How to Freeze Broccoli

How to freeze broccoli begins the first of a new feature I am starting at Pure Grace farms to help you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested while in peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, the best time to preserve your bounty is when they are plentiful.

Preserving the Harvest Series: How to Freeze Broccoli There are several reasons why preserving your produce in season makes sense. The first and foremost reason is quality, especially when buying local. The time fruits and vegetables sit in a warehouse or travel by truck, boat, or train, is sure to be reduced when buying in season. Second, preserving the harvest when the food is typically grown saves money; prices tend to be lower when seasonal produce is abundant. Lastly, my favorite reason for preserving the harvest in season is the ability to reap the rewards of that delicious produce when otherwise you might not have access to it. There is nothing better than enjoying a slice of cherry pie in the fall or a crisp dill pickle knowing you preserved it. 

I hope you join me over the next several weeks as I explore all the great ways to preserve the harvest.


Preserving the Harvest Series: How to Freeze Broccoli Broccoli 

Broccoli is a cool-season crop.  Just like spinach, it can be grown in the spring or fall.  Broccoli is also a member of the cabbage family and is rich in vitamins. 

Harvesting

  • Broccoli should be harvested when the buds of the head are firm and tight before the heads begin to flower. Once you begin to see yellow petals, don’t wait;  harvest immediately. 
  • It is best to harvest early in the morning before the soil warms up for best taste.
  • Take at least 6 inches of the stem when cutting the main head.
  • Side shoots will most likely develop after the main head has been harvested. Cut the small shoots often before they begin to flower and you may have broccoli all summer long.
  • Broccoli can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is not necessary to wash it before you place it in the refrigerator and will probably keep better if you don’t. If you must wash it, be sure to allow it to dry thoroughly before storing for best results.

(Above information gleaned from the Farmer’s Almanac)

Preserving the Harvest Series: How to Freeze Broccoli

 

Preserving the Harvest Series: How to Freeze Broccoli

Preserve the Harvest Series: How to Freeze Broccoli
 
Steaming helps to retain vital nutrients of the broccoli and serves to prevent over cooking that often takes place when blanching in water. A ice water bath is necessary to halt the cooking process that continues even after the broccoli has been removed from the steam. Quick freezing the broccoli prior to freezing prevents the broccoli from becoming one solid mass; making it easier to grab a handful of frozen broccoli from the bag and reseal for later.
Ingredients
  • Broccoli
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. It is best to choose broccoli at peak season; mid-June to mid-July. There are several varieties of broccoli, but usually look for those with tight heads, no yellowing, and firm green stalks with no bruising or discoloration.
  2. Rinse broccoli well to remove dirt and debris and to make sure no insects are hiding within the head of the broccoli.
  3. Remove the leaves from the broccoli and cut into 1-2 inch florets, depending on your preference. Cut the remaining stem into 1 inch pieces discarding the tougher woody bit of the stem at the end.
  4. Prepare ice bath for broccoli. Fill sink with ice and add cold water. Important to plunge broccoli into ice bath after allotted steam time to stop the cooking process.
  5. Place broccoli into steamer basket for large pan.
  6. Place about 1 -2 inches of water in large pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, place steamer basket filled with broccoli into pan, cover with lid and set timer for 4 minutes.
  7. Once timer goes off, immediately remove broccoli from pan, pour broccoli into colander and plunge into ice bath.
  8. Allow broccoli to cool for several minutes, remove from ice water bath, drain and shake to remove excess water.
  9. Place broccoli on flat baking sheets lined with parchment or wax paper, careful to keep the broccoli from touching. Place in the coldest part of freezer until frozen solid. (about 1 hour).
  10. Once frozen, remove broccoli from freezer, place into heavy duty freezer bags or vacuum seal broccoli, as desired.
  11. Date and label broccoli. Will keep for up to 1 year.

Preserving the Harvest Series: How to freeze Broccoli has been shared with:

Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesday’s *Detours in Life: Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday *The Shady Porch: Party on the Porch *Foody Schmoody: The Wednesday Roundup  *My Paper Craze: The Creative Spark *Sweet Haute La Dolce Vita *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Living Well Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday *Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyholic: Pin it Party *Happy and Blessed Home: Family Fun Friday *Turnips 2 Tangerines: Four Seasons Blog Hop *Organized 31: Inspire us Thursday – *Juggling Real Food and Real life: Let’s Get Real *Nancherrow: Friday’s Unfolded  *Christina’s Adventures: The Handmade Hangout *Simple Living and Eating: Foodie Friday *My Turn For Us: Freedom Friday *Closer to Home: Friday Frenzy  *The Pin Junkie: Friday Link Party *The Cookie Puzzle: Party in Your PJ’S *Kitchen Dreaming: Weekend Social *In the Kitchen with Jenny: Foodie Friend Friday *Coffee With us 3: Pretty Pintastic *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 *21 Century Housewife:  Hearth and Soul *Memories by the Mile: Treasure Box Tuesday *Lou Lou Girls

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. 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.”

 

 

Fresh Pumpkin Puree

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ―William Cullen Bryant

Today as I sit down to write, I find myself unable to focus on the here and now, the present tense.

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats. Fond memories of fall, times past with my children, spring up, flood over me and serve to remind me that my babies are grown and gone. Nostalgia creeps up, its arrow bulls-eyes right to the heart, and I am undone.

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

I remember fall picnics, sharing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watching childish antics and hearing silly stories of great adventures, out beneath the large oak tree. 

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

There were magical times spent tromping through the apple trees, climbing up and down ladders and scurrying here and there, always at full speed, searching for the “bestest and most perfect apple”. 

Excursions were also frequent to the local Bates Nut Farm, where the kids and I would go pumpkin hunting through the pumpkin patch, buy hot dogs, and afterwards, feed the goats. 

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

My daughter carried her “blankie” with her everywhere she went and the petting zoo was no exception.  I spent many afternoons, retrieving her blanket from some hungry goats mouth, as she toddled  about squealing with joy and excitement to “touch the pretties.” 

Memories are precious, wonderful things, even if they make us a bit sad. 

So, after walking down this little pathway of memory lane, I tuck them away for now, and look again at the present and give thanks.  I recognize the wonderful part about life is the ability to make new memories. Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

Memories of a little boy who enjoys warm maple syrup on his pancakes and can barely sit still to eat them, in anticipation of his monthly trip to the dump with grandpa. Tucked away are moments to treasure, of our grandson, lugging a pumpkin up the stairs from our pumpkin patch, exclaiming, “look grandma, it is just my size”.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds: Don’t waste those precious pumpkin seeds, roast them instead

Pumpkin Seeds with Cajun Seasoning: Don’t waste those precious pumpkin seeds, roast them instead.

 Always one more memory on the horizon, waiting to embed itself into my life.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake With Whiskey Butter Sauce - Oh My! Moist, filled with great flavor and not too sweet. Just one more itsy bitsy piece, thanks.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake With Whiskey Butter Sauce

This fall, pumpkins along with life abounds. I’m ready for a special treat. How about you?

How to Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Bundt Cake With Whiskey Butter Sauce

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds 

 

Fresh Pumpkin Puree shared with:

*Homestead Lady: Green Thumb Thursday