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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Water Bath Canner
- Pint Jars with Lids and Bands
- Utensil Set – Not absolutely necessary, but makes the job of canning a whole lot easier.
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.
- 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
- Heat grapeseed oil in large nonstick skillet over med. high heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add raw sugar, caramelized onions, sea salt , pepper, lemon, and basil to peaches.
- Return peaches to a low boil and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Allow peaches to continue to boil until thickened. (about 30 to 45 minutes depending on water content of peaches)
- Once thickened remove from heat, fill sterilized pint jars leaving ½ inch headspace.
- Wipe rim of canning jar and apply lid and band.
- Process in hot water bath for 10 - 15 minutes depending on elevation.or place preserves in refrigerator.
- 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.