What? Why? How?!!!
What to do with an abundance of fresh fruit at their peak of ripeness?… Can it! No, not trash it… Can it, as in preserve it. Yes, imagine 6 yummy 1/2 pint jars of summer goodness in the chill of winter…
It’s fairly cool during the summer at 8000′ elevation in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, so any time of the year is canning time. I don’t usually worry about over heating the house with cooking and canning. Maina being in Texas might want to use a crock-pot to cook her fruit, this saves the house from excess heat. Then the canning process can also be done outside on a reliable propane heat source.
Canning is a great option when local produce is plentiful and on sale. I bought locally grown Colorado Palisade Peaches for .99 cents a pound! The large box of blueberries was on special for $2.99, and apples were $1.99 for a 3 pound bag. We ate some of the fruit and froze some for smoothies and made preserves. What a deal! Shop the farmer markets and watch the sale papers
Eat it, Freeze it, Can it!
Apple, Blueberry, Peach Preserves
What you’ll need:
- 6 1/2 pint mason jars
- water bath canner
- large pot or crock-pot
- 2 pounds apples (core and slice or cut in chunks, no need to peel)
- 1 pound peaches (remove pits and slice or cut in chunks, no need to peel)
- 1/2 pound blueberries
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups demarara sugar (or your choice of sweetener: raw, coconut or palm sugar)
Core and slice apples, remove pits and slice peaches, no need to peel, add blueberries and remaining ingredients to pot or crock-pot. Save the apple cores for the horses!
Don’t freak out over the amount of sugar! If you do the math it works out to 16 tsp of sugar per 1/2 pint jar. Now think about the amount used to spread on a piece of toast… Whew, and it’s way better than store bought. Homemade with no preservatives or artificial anything.
- Stove top: Add all ingredients to pot. Bring to boil, stirring to keep from sticking. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes till fruit and skins are soft.
- Crock-pot option: Add all ingredients to crock-pot and cook 3-5 hours till fruit and skins are soft.
- Mashing: I prefer it chunky so I use a potato masher. Immersion blender, mixer and food processor all produce different results. Mash it to your liking.
Preserving the Harvest:
- Water bath can: Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/2″ head space. Process 15 minutes for 1/2 pint jars. Adjusting head space and processing time for your altitude (high altitudes need more head space and time).
Another option is freezing (good for 1 year) in glass or plastic containers or freezer bags.
Remember to label and date your jars 🙂
More uses: Stir into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, topping for ice cream, filling for cake, tarts, cobbler…
Enjoy a taste of summer in winter!