I put on a sweater this morning. And the leaves on the birch out my kitchen window are an amazing sunny yellow. I may actually have to turn the heat on in our little apartment and I almost burned myself leaning up against the ancient radiator in my favorite coffee shop (like I do every morning….I always thought those things were for decoration?).
But, I know it’s fall when I start canning in a frenzy…. because most of the summer I have been outside planting or playing or eating peaches like there will never be a time where we have rain. After 60 some-odd days of sunshine and warm temps, I almost forget where I live.
Those plums up there sat in the colander in the fridge for almost too long. I was busy with work and recovering from emotional trauma and moving and all sorts of other things.
My new oven stayed dormant, except to warm some pizza, for far too long. It was out-of-order (took two hours to preheat….that just won’t do) for nearly 10 days. Then I just couldn’t bring myself to make anything.
Broken hearted cooks do not make good food.
I had these peaches sitting in the fridge alongside the plums. And some blueberries. We had taken a trip to our amazing local farmers’ market in a misguided attempt to try and jumpstart my culinary mojo.
After that, I just went home and sobbed with a basket full of produce I thought would just rot in my fridge that sometimes freezes everything.
Then, I ordered this from The Amazons*.
And just like that, I turned the oven on for more than pizza.
The Flavor Bible was accompanied on its trip from The Amazons by Food In Jars. I’ve been following Marisa’s blog for a few years now, and when I saw her book was coming out, I may or may not have squeed a little. I also may or may not have had to purchase my own copy, after having the library’s for too long.
I also may or may not have paid for this book twice (once in library fines and once from The Amazons.)
So the peaches mentioned above went into Marisa’s Oven Roasted Peach Butter (I added a little fresh-grated nutmeg after mashing the peaches). I highly recommend using an immersion blender or a regular blender to smooth this out if you don’t want chunky butter. Also, cook it until you think it’s done. Then cook it about 20 more minutes.
Then blueberries. (to be perfectly honest, I had all three of these preserves cooking at the same time. Go big or go home, right?)
In with the blueberries went some vanilla sugar (sugar + vanilla bean pod + about a week = amazing), a hit of fresh nutmeg, half a lemon (juice & zest) and some time.
Then the plums. I had no idea what to do with those.
So I pulled out my new favorite book (Flavor Bible) and turned to the plum page. Red wine. Lemon. Cinnamon. Done.
So I cooked all of them down (in their respective pans) until they were a delicious syrupy mess and then put them in jars and froze them. I’m a canner, but I’m also a smart canner. I don’t mess with recipes that have not been approved by the High Gods Of Canning (or whoever tells you which ones can be shelf stable after a boiling water bath and which ones might kill you slowly with Ebola or ecoli or trichinosis or whatever canned goods kill you with).
So to note, the Oven Roasted Peach Butter is a recipe from Food In Jars’ book. I would repost it here, but I don’t have permission and I’m not a plagiarist or an asshole. So go check out the book at your local library or buy it from The Amazons or your local bookseller and just add a little nutmeg before that final round of roasting. (and by “a little”, I mean I grated half a nutmeg over the dish before sticking it back in the oven.)
I don’t recommend canning either of these recipes. I don’t know the acid levels, I’m not a master canner (though I wish I was!!) and I am not about to make anybody sick. So put them in the freezer.
1 quart blueberries
zest/juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1/3 cup sugar
2 T maple syrup
Combine all in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until thickened (approximately 90 minutes)
2 pounds plums, pitted & cubed
1/4 cup red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup sugar
zest/juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Combine all in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until thickened. Use a hand blender to blend things together, if you like it more smooth and less chunky.
*For some reason, I have been adding titles to everything lately. Mostly things that don’t need one. Like Amazon.
ETA: My friend says that the Ball Canning Bible (or whatever the proper title is…that’s what WE call it) says it would be OK to can these recipes in a water bath canner. I still say err on the side of caution and put ‘em up in the freezer