Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So What About That Peach Canning Class?!

Okay, so it was several weeks ago that I let everyone know I was teaching a class about canning peaches…little slow on the uptake here, but I thought you all might like to hear how it went…’peachy’ - sorry that was too good to pass up! It was a lovely Saturday afternoon, not too hot, which is always a canning concern. I mean what’s up with most of the years canning taking place during the hottest months of the year. I think it’s
a test. If you can survive a 4 thousand degree kitchen, while racing around cramming bits of produce into small jars - you too can call yourself a canner…anyway, as is my usual M.O. I did my test canning at home so that I had the time schedule down pat as well as making sure the recipes I had dreamed up would be pleasing to the class. All went well on that front. This time I decided on plain canned peaches in light syrup. I figured that would give folks a good basis for other stone fruits, in case they had a nectarine tree or perhaps plums and the tree went berserk and all the fruit ripened at one, which has been my experience or they just wanted to enjoy some fruit sometime in the winter . We did a simple 6 part water to 1 part sugar syrup, filled the jars with peaches and syrup and processed them for 30 minutes. Pretty straight forward    everyone’s jar came out beautifully…
Next up was a peach chutney. I like to think that having one easy and one interesting item on the cooking agenda makes for a class that will hold everyone’s interest…or maybe I just subscribe to that ‘teaser’ mentality sort of like the big news shows…’peach chutney - details to follow’… the chutney is very tasty and works well with chicken or pork…it is also a nice add to soft cheeses like brie or chevre as an appetizer.
Peach Chutney

2 Qts. (aprox 15 med.) - Peaches, finely chopped

1 ½ Cups – Brown Sugar

½ Cup Golden Raisins

½ Cup Onion Chopped

1/8 Cup Mustard Seed

1 TBS. Ginger

1 Clove Garlic minced

1tsp. – Salt

8-10 Cardamom Seeds

2 ½ Cups – White Wine Vinegar

1. Cut a small ‘x’ on the bottom of each peach, drop peaches into boiling water for 1 minute, then into ice water

2. Peel, cut peaches in half and remove pit, finely chop pitted peaches

3. Put all ingredients in a large sauce pan.

4. Bring to a simmer

5. Simmer until thickened, aprox. 30 minutes – Stir frequently to prevent sticking

6. Put water in other two pots and bring to a boil while peaches are cooking

7. Put lids in small pot to heat

8. Put jars in canning pot

9. Remove glass jars from pot

10. Fill jars with hot chutney, leaving ¼” head space

11. Remove air bubbles

12. Wipe edge of can with clean damp towel

13. With tongs put 1 lid on jar and finger tighten ring on jar

14. Put jars into canning pot

15. When water is boiling again, process ½ pint jars for 10 minutes

16. Remove from pot, cool

We all managed to get our jars filled and processed and the class wrapped up in it’s allotted 2 hours. We had a great time and there are a few new canning converts in the central valley. Next class - apples…

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