Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 1: Basil Peach Preserves

The 31-day Fall Challenge is here!

Let's get started, with preserves. The humble, delicious idea of preserving your fruit is one my grandmother and her sisters used to do regularly. The fruits usually came from their gardens or a nearby farmer friend. My grandmother was one of the few (out of 8) that lived in a city, and farmers' markets weren't as popular back in the day; so she bought her fruit at the grocery store. Since I don't have a garden (yet), I'm in a similar boat. But, even if you aren't Farmer Joe or Jane, you can still make delicious preserves! I just discovered white peaches (I know, I know), so I used a bundle of these to make it happen (& they were on sale, bonus). White peaches are pretty sweet, so that allowed me to cut back on sugar.

Basil Peach Preserves
This recipe is the simplest I could find to make preserves, with a couple of my own changes. Preserves are incredibly versatile, not just for toast! Top it on pancakes or in crepes, mixed in oatmeal or yogurt, or use as a sauce for pork, shrimp, chicken or turkey. This can also be the base for a spicy jam that you top on cream cheese for an awesome holiday dip. The basil is present, but not overpowering.
Makes 3 cups of preserves

8-10 medium peaches  (about 3 1/2 pounds)
Pinch of kosher salt
Dash of cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
10 fresh basil leaves

Step One: Peel, pit and slice peaches into chunks. (If you want smaller pieces, pulse in a food processor until chunky.) I personally like chunky preserves for versatility, but it's your call.

 Step Two: Move the peaches to a large saucepan, adding salt, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Keep boiling and stirring until the bubbles slow down, the foam subsides, the fruit rises to the top and the jam sticks to a spoon when lifted (15 minutes total). Add in the whole basil leaves and stir. Let cool for an hour, and then transfer to the fridge until completely cooled.

Step Three: Transfer cold preserves to sanitized jars. The preserves can stay in the fridge for up to 2 months. Enjoy!

Adapted from:
Martha Stewart
Georgia Peach Council 

Happy eating!

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