Last weekend, we went to Palisade for our annual trip to Bracken Orchard to pick peaches. We drive 240 miles over the mountains, each way, so we want to make sure we make the trip worth it. This year, we came home with 368 pounds of peaches (slightly less, since about half a box was Fuji apples).
We had 15 pounds for my sister and 40 pounds for some friends, but the rest we’ve been working on getting put up for the year. Most of them are sliced and frozen in quart-size bags, and many get made into various jams for our use during the year and for gifts. We canned some a few years ago, but we feel like the frozen ones are more versatile and last us longer. Plus they are easier to put up and take up less space.
True to form, I decided to defrost 40 pounds of the plums that were given to us last year at peach time. We didn’t have time then to process them properly, so of course I thought we’d have time this year! What is wrong with me?!? I spent the whole week making plum jam while Rick sliced and froze the peaches. I didn’t get all the plums done before some started to smell “off,” but I got most of them taken care of. Smarter people would have just defrosted a little at a time. Then I moved onto the peach jams.
This has been the most fun I’ve ever had jamming though. My friend Kristen has been a godsend, coming over twice to make jams. We got a little crazy the second time, trying new recipes. I spent a good portion of my grocery budget last week on organic Madagascar vanilla beans, green cardamom pods and various liquors for our jam. Some combos we tried: Peach with Honey, Vanilla Bean and Brandy (wow – the smell!), Plum Lavender (AMAZING!!), Peach-Plum Ginger, Plum Noir (ooh lala!), and a couple of original creations, Kristen’s Honey Peach Cobbler jam, and my Jalapeno-Honey Plum. We’ve had a ball.
I’ve even ordered special jars. I hope they arrive by this weekend (I plan to make Peach, Blueberry and Grand Marnier jam and my favorite traditional peach preserves), but if they don’t make it, I’ll use them next year. I found most of these recipes on the Punk Domestics site, by the way. If you put up – you should definitely check it out!
So what are your favorite ways to use peaches? Plums? Any awesome jam recipes?