Thursday, August 05, 2010

Salted Butterscotch Peach Jam

AKA: Lazy Girl's No-peel Over-ripe Peach Jam!

First: Obtain a large quantity of peaches, then suddenly get insanely busy for about 4 days.

Then, finally have time to can your peaches, and realize that they are just a *titch* overripe. But oh so fragrant!

Next: Begin the peach- peeling process. Simmer water, have a bowl of ice water at the ready, and 2 other empty bowls left to hold the peaches, and the pits/peels.

Blanch peaches in simmering water, place in ice water, and then peel the skin off. On regular, perfectly ripe peaches, this is easy. With overripe peaches, this is not easy.

Swear alot, then go to plan B.

Plan B involves thinking about how people eat peach peels when they eat fresh peaches so how could they be THAT bad in jam, and then dumping the bowls of hot and ice water and simply washing, stoning and quartering the lovely soft peaches and putting them in a big heavy pot.

Next, consult the Inspiration Recipe. I rarely, if ever, cook anything exactly FROM a specific recipe, but rather, gather one or more Inspirational Recipes and loosely follow them, and improvise muchly. (Yes, I said muchly. It should be a word.)

The Inspiration Recipe, in this instance, is this Butterscotch Peach Jam recipe, which is YUM! I know, because I tasted Abby's (thanks Abby!).

So I followed this recipe, more or less. I smooshed my peaches (with my hands, because I don't have a potato masher), then added brown sugar to taste. I think "to taste" is very important in this recipe, because it will depend on how ripe/sweet your peaches are, how sweet you like your jam, and, how salty you like it. Because I deviated from this recipe. After adding my brown sugar and about a half cup of lemon juice, I let it simmer at very low heat for a bit over an hour, while the peaches cooked, and the whole mixture got dark, rich and fragrant...mmmm. Butterscotch-ey. Then, THEN. Then, you bust out the GOOD SALT. I used some delicious, moist Celtic Sea Salt....and added about a tablespoon. Stir, taste, and see what you think. I ended up adding about 1 1/2 tbsp., because to me, that was the lovely blend of sweet/salty/peachy/butterscotch that I was looking for. YMMV, so, taste as you add.

Pour into your hot jars and process as for peach butter (consult the Ball Blue Book for times in your area), and then...devour!

I am thinking this is way more versatile than just Jam. YES, I plan to enjoy it on some good whole wheat toast bread with a bit of butter. But I also plan to warm it, and spoon it over fresh shortbread with whipped cream on top. And I think it would be divine over fresh homemade gingerbread. Or on ice cream.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Free, cute canning labels - all kinds of labels, not just canning jars.
- awesome list! - I love the clean, classy look of these.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Banana Chutney

So, Inspired by a $.99 bag of slightly overripe bananas, I concocted this Banana chutney, which is an amalgam of a couple of recipes I found online and in books, plus what I had on hand. I freely admit to not measuring things, but going by smell, taste, and feel, so, I have done my best to approximate amounts here, but as always adjust to your tastes.

Banana Chutney
1 bag slightly overripe bananas, cut into bite sized pieces
1 good handful raisins (3/4 cup?)
1 good handful dried cranberries (3/4 cup?)
1 large purple onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 small jalepenos, finely chopped, seeds left in
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. powdered ginger

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, and bring to simmer. Let simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust ingredients. Ladle into 8 oz jars, seal, and process for 10 minutes. YUM!