Friday, August 28, 2009

Canning & Preserves: Abundance with Summer Peaches

While at my godmother Sonja's beach house for a few days this past week, one afternoon we stayed in preserving summer peaches from the farmer's market. "We will appreciate these peaches during the winter," said my 86 year old godmother.

A very good friend of mine, Eugenia Bone, a brilliant writer, wrote a book on preserving. "Gina" is a food aficionado like most of us. We share the same gym; whenever we are in the locker room, we will be chatting about anything from  wild mushrooms in Pennsylvania to the best gadgets for making spƤtzle.

From a recent New York times article comes her simple recipes for preserving pears. A light simmering in syrup does little to prepare the fruit for a long hibernation in the pantry; to make them safe, you need to process them—place the closed jars in a pot, cover with water and boil for 20 minutes.

Gina has her way of using fruit and alcohol. 

“With water-bath canning, you’re really just poaching,” she said. 

“So I thought, the canning can be the cooking.”

She used firm Bartlett pears, which she said are best for canning because
they maintain their shape, and warmed them through in a thyme
syrup. (Heating the pears before canning pulls some air out of the fruit.)

After transferring the pears to jars, she covered
them with the syrup, adding bay leaves, peppercorns
and lemon zest.

Eugenia Bone, author of Well Preserved 
You will need two pint-size wide-mouth Ball or Kerr jars with bands and new lids.