Tag Archives: peaches

Conserve-ation

Honoring the end of one season and the beginning of another I made Peach Almond Conserve  and Cranberry Apple Conserve  this week.  Conserves are similar to preserves but are made with a combination of fresh and dried fruits and often contain nuts.   These conserves are made without pectin and with less sugar than most jams, giving them a softer, chunkier texture with lots of fruit taste.  A good conserve blends the flavors of the fruits without losing their individual character. 

Here are my recipes for some delicious seasonal conserves.

Cranberry Apple Walnut Conserve
2 cups cranberries
6 cups apples (peeled, cored, cut in 1/4 inch slices, then cut in half)
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup walnuts (rough chopped)
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole star anise
2 tablespoons Contreau (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Place walnuts in single layer on cookie sheet
Toast in oven until just slightly browned and fragrant
Set nuts aside to cool
Cook cranberries in orange juice and spices until they begin to soften slightly and pop (about 10 minutes)
Add apples, raisins, and sugar
Cook gently until apples soften and mixture begins to thicken
Stir in remaining sugar and Contreau
Boil until mixture gels (will be a softer spread than a traditional jam)
Remove cinnamon sticks and star anise
Stir in walnuts
refrigerate, can, or freeze

Peach Almond Conserve
8 cups peaches (peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2 chunks)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dried currants
2/3 cup slivered almonds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons Ameretto (or 1 tsp almond extract)

Cook peaches, currants and cinnamon sticks until they get slightly soft and juicy
Add sugar and Ameretto (or almond extract) turn up heat
Boil until mixture gels (will be a softer spread than a traditional jam)
Remove cinnamon sticks
Stir in almonds
Refrigerate, can, or freeze

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Peach Panic

I bought some peaches as soon as they showed up at the farmers market and they were delicious if a tiny bit under ripe.  The next week I bought more and we ate some for a snack and made a delicious salmon with white wine and sliced peaches and grilled peaches with mint and honey. 

Next I bought a small bag of perfectly ripe nectarines which was demolished amid contented sighs and sticky hands coated in juice.  The peaches and nectarines and plums were so good this year that they made me feel sad to think that the season would soon draw to a close.    

I could not imagine being without this friend through the long winter so out came the canning supplies and soon I had created a small winter stash of white and yellow peach preserves with cinnamon and port wine, spicy peach with Hungarian peppers, a small batch of peach and lavender, and a tart plum and ginger sauce.  We often think of jams and preserves as spreads for toast; but they are wonderful for savory and sweet dishes.  Try serving homemade jam on a cheese platter, or  use as a meat or fish glaze, and use preserves for filling tarts and cookies as I did with the simple shortbread cookies shown here stuffed with peach and lavender jam.