Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Ok this post isn't about knitting. But it is about what in some ways is behind the idea of summer knitting. Getting ready for winter. Every summer I feel like I gorge myself on fresh fruit and vegetables and mourn that one day winter will come, and all that goodness will be gone!

And really that's what the freezer jam is all about. Saving some of that fresh fruit for when you can't get it any more. A way to save strawberries and peaches and cherries when they are at their best.

I also freeze cherries, blueberries, and peaches. The cherries I use in chocolate cherry crisp, which is as good as it sounds. The peaches get used in cobblers or crisps and smoothies. The blueberries get eaten frozen (and used in stuff but I prefer to eat them frozen). I'm weird and frozen is the ONLY way I tolerate blueberries.

I also freeze sweet corn. At any time in the winter there will be a piece of summery goodness I can drag out and dream of the days of butter dripping down your chin. (I prefer the cook for 10 min, ice bath, cut off the cob, but I do understand you can freeze them on the cob raw). And I've tried freezing green beans, but they didn't taste all that great to me. I've frozen tomato sauce as well, but found it to be eh.

What I have never tried, until this year, was canning. So this year I did a bunch of research and discovered that for most of what I want to do, waterbath canning would work. Green beans sadly need a pressure canner. So I bought one of those "discovery kits" that ball sells.
It comes with 3 pint jars, and a basket that you can list out of a stockpot. And I THOUGHT my big pan was big enough. Alas, it was not. So I purchased:
It was on clearance, even though the red ones were full price. Go figure.

Peaches are up first. Now this spring was very wonky here in Michigan. We got 80 degree days in March. A bunch in fact. Enough in fact to cause the fruit trees to think it was spring and start to leaf out. And then it got cold again. In fact we had a frost in May (which isn't unusual--our last frost date is May 25). The cherry crops were decimated, as were apple and peach. My regular vendor for cherries had NONE this year. Sour cherries, already on a short season were here for exactly one week. During which I washed, pitted and cut 5 quarts of cherries. Ok, but back to peaches. The same vendor that I buy cherries from has the best peaches I have ever tasted. And this year they lost 70% of their crop. They started showing up at Farmer's market with peaches about 3 weeks ago.

Of course I bought some to eat. We can finish off 1/4 peck easily between market days (twice a week). Then a week after that we bought more. I've made one batch of peach jam (probably all I'll make). I have enough peaches frozen for a cobbler or crisp (my step father loves cobblers, I prefer crisps and I usually make one or the other during their annual visit).

I also went a little overboard and bought um a whole peck at a time.


But this year, canning was the thing. So I surfed around the ball recipe site (which has a terrible search function) and found the only recipe for peaches was honey spiced peaches. So I made those.

spiced peaches

They look brown with all the spices and the honey. I had leftover everything so I made popsicles out of that. (sorry no pictures, we ate them before I could think of it.)

But of course, I have this whole community of people who pester give me helpful advice and so I searched around some more and realized you can just make a plain simple syrup (of varying sweetnesses) and cold pack peaches and pour hot syrup over them and process. So I did that.


They look prettier.

Tomatoes are just starting to come in and we're hoping to get a bunch from our CSA (yes, I am hardcore--I do 2 farmer's markets and a CSA every week--and we eat most of it--we do lose some to spoilage because even I cannot eat 20 cucumbers in one week--and we aren't big into pickles), and so next up several variations on tomato sauces/crushed tomatoes.

Anyone have any good recipes they like for tomatoes?