Preserving Summer

Yes, I know the calendar says Fall. Or Autumn, as I prefer. But according to the sweatiness factor after my run this morning, it is still summer in Baltimore. Unfortunately. I yearn for dry, crisp autumn days, but I will dearly miss my herbs, summer fruit, and summer vegetables. 

Since I've had quite a bit of time on my hands lately (being in between jobs and all) I have used a good chunk of it to preserve the best of summer in jars and waxed paper. Want to know what I made? Well:

From top left: Sweet Pepper Relish, Italian Farmhouse Pickled
Green Tomatoes, Peach Sauce, Balsamic Blueberry Peaches
From bottom left: Chipotle Peach Salsa, Balsamic Blueberry Peaches,
Pickled Hot Peppers, Rosemary Sage Pickles, Italian Farmhouse Pickled
Green Tomatoes, Sweet Pepper Relish, Peach Sauce, Cranberry Apple Chutney
Oh, and then there was also...

From top left: Chive Pesto, Lemon Parsley Butter, Herbed Goat's Milk Butter
From bottom left: Thyme Pesto, Sweet Genovese Basil Pesto
And don't forget about...

From top down: Turmeric Mustard Seed Butter, Chipotle Lime Butter,
Chive Thyme Butter, Tarragon Garlic Chive Butter, Cranberry Sage Goat Cheese
Yes, uh, like I said. Lots of time in the kitchen. It was so worth it though. As I lined up my jars and hand-rolled butters, I felt so pleased with all that I made. Months down the road, I can pull out a jar from the pantry, or a butter from the freezer, and make something taste better because of what I took time to make now. 

I also made honey thyme goat cheese. And tonight I'm making scallion chive crepes. The herbs just keep coming! And I want to use them all up before they die, but the more I pick, the more they come back. I may have to resign myself to just hanging them upside down and drying them.

The compound butters I made make me very excited to eat butter. Normally, I just have butter with jam and toast, and of course, I use it for some cooking and baking. But the Turmeric Mustard Seed Butter can be mixed with rice for Asian dishes, the Chipotle Lime can go on top of a savory corn bread, and the Lemon Parsley can dress up some white fish. And the Tarragon Chive Garlic Butter, well, I'm going to make some Tuscan Bread and slather it on thick.

For everything I pickled, I like to just eat it straight. I am not a creative whiz when it comes to figuring out what to have with pickles (hot dogs and burgers are few and far between), so I usually have them as a snack or a side.

And can you just imagine the Balsamic Blueberry Peaches a top a scoop of homemade ice cream? So excited. 

But the thing I would like to feature most is peach sauce and, to adhere to the season, apple sauce. It is so easy. A friend was visiting me a month ago. "Have you ever made your own apple sauce?" No. "It's so easy! Let's make some."

Peach Sauce or Apple Sauce

Wash peaches/apples, core them, and cut them into chunks
Put them in a pot
Add about an inch of water
Simmer until mushy
Blend to mix in skins
If you want, you can add sugar, honey, cinnamon, or other spices

That's it! You can refrigerate it and eat it within a week, or preserve it by jarring and processing it in a hot water bath.

There may not be any summer produce left where you live, but I wanted to inspire you to try canning and other ways to preserve food. I'm not an expert at canning; I know the basic rules and follow recipes. Here are some good sources for canning:

Autumn produce is here, so it's not too late to try preserving food. Apple sauce, apple butter, pumpking pie stove, we're about to become best buddies again.

Comments said…
Wow, my hero. I'm such an amateur when it comes to canning. How did you learn - something passed down in the family or from a book?
Rebekah Kuk said…
DeskSnacker, I come from a family who did no preserving -- so I had to teach myself. I read a lot of recipes, got together with a friend, and just went for it. It's a fun way to use up extra produce.