Tag Archives: canning tips

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

What’s summer without a little cherry on top? We were fortunate enough to receive a gorgeous shipment of Rainier Bing Cherries from the folks at SweetPreservation.com. I’m a huge sucker for a real cherry pie (for the Wisconsinites out there, a Door County Cherry Pie, what? Does it get better?). Here’s my cherry pie secret: I’ve never made one. Gasp! Well, praise to the pie gods, I’m all ready to go now.

Washington Stone Fruit Cherries

This homemade cherry pie filling is sweet and tart all at the same time. It’s beautiful in color and will work well as a pie, crepe, or donut filling or as a pancake, waffle or ice cream topping. Or scoop it right out of the jar and eat it by the spoonful. It’s that good.

Pitting the cherries is two-thirds the battle. I took a Wilton frosting tip (#3!), stuck it on the end of my finger and pushed the pits out. You could purchase a cherry pitter which looks amazing, but if they didn’t have it at Target, I wasn’t getting one. So strap on an apron, get ready to have some red fingers and let the good times roll!

Homemade cherry pie filling

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
5 C stemmed and pitted Bing cherries
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 TBSP lime juice
4 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 C water

Add cherries, sugar and lime juice to a large saucepan. Heat on medium, allowing cherries to warm, releasing their juices. Stir occasionally, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and water together in separate bowl. When cherries are warmed through, mix in cornstarch mixture. Allow to heat through to boil, another 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.

Cherry pie filling

If you’re canning, following the step by step canning methods on Sweetpreservation.com.

Stay tuned for more cherry recipes to come!

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stef

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Almond Peach Butter

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Sweet Preservation.com and the Washington State Fruit Commission, a large, gorgeous box of fuzzy, juicy peaches showed up at our doorstep. These peaches had us drooling and ready to can. We decided to use these Northwestern grown beauties to create an Almond Peach Butter. Pure in its peach form, a peach butter does not, in fact, include butter. Peaches are cooked down to a smooth form and lightly sweetened, preserving the delicate flavors of the fruit.

Washington State Peaches

This butter is a great concoction to can. For canning and preserving tips, click to our Preserving and Canning 101 link. If you do not have the resources, space or time to can, you can shrink this recipe down and toss the butter in a jar or container. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Almond Peach Butter

Almond Peach Butter
Makes about 5-6 cups

14-16 medium-large sized peaches (about 4 lbs)
1 C water
1 3/4 C sugar
2 TBSP pure almond extract

Wash, peel and cut peaches into chunks. Put in large stock pot and add water. Heat until peaches are very soft, about 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or a food processor or blender if you don’t have an immersion blender), blend the peaches to a smooth consistency.

Add sugar and almond extract and simmer for 50-60 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. When the mixture is done, it will remain rounded on top of the spoon for a minute. You can also drizzle a line of the peach butter across the top of the pot. The line of mixture should keep it’s form. You can choose the thickness depending upon your liking.

If you are canning, immediately divide the peach butter amongst the jars and follow your canning instructions. If you are not preserving, allow to cool before placing in a jar or container and refrigerate.

Almond Peach Butter via Haute Apple Pie

This Almond Peach Butter is delicious on toast, an english muffin or a scone. It is a great addition to oatmeal, making it taste like a little bowl of peach cobbler. It is also a great J for a PBJ. We are also experimenting with sandwich spread, bars and other treats!

theLadies

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Preserving & Canning 101

Canning is hot right now. Maybe it’s just that I’ve paid more attention to it after taking several canning classes this summer but regardless, I would say it’s “trending”…and for good reason.  What’s not to like about tasty jams or pickled goodies that let you enjoy summer all year round?  And while grocery stores are full of canned goods, I think there’s something smart and charming about preserving your own garden (or farmer’s market) goodies to keep or to giveaway.

“Preserving” covers canning, freezing and drying…so you don’t have to can to preserve your goods. Freezing and drying are less complicated than canning but they also limit your options. If canning is something you’re interested in, I would highly recommend finding a local class or a good book.  To whet your appetite, I conned my local instructor, Annie Wegner Lefort, into sharing her top preservation tips. As a Master Food Preserver, Annie really knows her stuff and has tons of great locally-sourced and preservable recipes on her own blog:

Annie’s Top Ten Food Preservation Tips (in no particular order):

1. Use a tested recipe and stick to it: pH levels are particularly important with hot water bath canning. Use a tested recipe to guarantee a safe, shelf-stable product.
2. Use Quality Produce: Garbage in = garbage out. Don’t use canning as a last resort to save something that’s overripe. Don’t want to lose it? Try freezing instead.
3. Preserve what you can consume in a year: Though home-canned items can be perfectly good 18 months or even two to three years after canning, they’re best in the first 12 months. When people relied on preservation instead of grocery stores, they preserved what they could reasonably eat before the next harvest.
4. Keep everything at a constant warm/hot temperature when processing: The biggest culprit of broken jars in the canner is that they were too cool going into the hot water bath. Keep your jars, food product, and water in the canner at a similar warm or hot temperature as you work.
how to make homemade jam
5. Vent properly when canning: Especially if you have a gas stovetop, be sure to open windows and vent when the cans are processing. It’s tempting to crank the A/C when canning, but if your flame happens to go out during processing (because of water splashing out of the kettle), this can eventually cause a buildup of noxious gas.
canning jam
6. Preserve the abundance of the season: When fruits and vegetables are plentiful, they should be most affordable. That’s the time to buy by the bushel. If you put in the work ahead of time you’ll have your larder stocked with local foods all winter.
7. Plan ahead for gift-giving: People love homemade gifts and almost nothing gets more oohs and aahs than the gift of preserves. They make instant host gifts or can be bundled with a favorite recipe and baked goods for a special gift basket.
8. Stock up on other ingredients: Keep an eye on store fliers for sales on vinegar, spices, sugar, etc. as well as canning supplies. Not only will you save money, but you’ll have everything you need on hand when the preserving bug hits.
9. Before you try a new recipe, think about how you’ll use it: I love to try new preserves, but if I have no immediate use for them they might sit in my pantry for years. Think about turning pickled beets into instant borscht or adding salsa to chili.
10. “Canners do it in groups”: Many hands make lighter work and this couldn’t be more true with preserving. It can be a lot of work (though well worth it), so gather some friends to pick, pare, and preserve (and sip a little wine!). Or can on your own, but consider which friends make the best salsa, pickles, etc. then swap the final products.

Canning Party

My friends, Colleen and Lizzy, and I took that last point to heart and recently held a mini canning party to make a double batch of fruit jams.  I love fruit jams because they’re great on toast, in plain yogurt, over ice cream and more. I dressed up the results with labels, pretty ribbon and rustic fabric scraps so that they’re giveaway ready.

canned jam as gifts

Next up, I planning on tackling Annie’s Bruschetta in a Jar recipe (see pg 17 of the Sept virtual issue) and some apple and pumpkin butters for fall!

More Preserving Resources:
So Easy to Preserve – we used their Blueberry Spice jam recipe
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
US Dept of Agriculture Complete Guide to Home Canning & Preserving
Canning & Preserving with Ashley English (who also has a great blog)
Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center Preservation Courses

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