Homemade Peach Shrub Recipe

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Homemade shrub is one thing you’ll always find in my refrigerator, all year round. There are many methods and recipes for how to make shrubs (all great, I’m sure), but I share my preferred method in my cookbook, WECK Small-Batch Preserving.

Though shrub can be made in a matter of a few minutes by cooking fruit with sugar (or other sweetener of choice) and making a syrup, I prefer to make fresh fruit shrub, without applying heat. The cooked method is great for when you are in a pinch. But, cooking the fruit makes it taste completely different, giving it a cooked flavor. By macerating the fruit for 3-4 days, as I direct in my cookbook, the fruit syrup retains a fresh fruit flavor and ultimately tastes better.

My method of shrub making can be applied to any fruits or fruit and herb combinations. Some fruits make better and more flavorful shrubs than others, but I’ve never made one I wasn’t pleased with.

Peach Shrub

Yield: 2-3 cups finished shrub

1.5 cups peaches, pitted and chopped (fresh or frozen)

1.5 cups organic or non-GMO granulated sugar (or other sweetener, such as brown sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup)

1.5 cups organic apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar of choice)

Combine peaches and sugar in a quart canning jar, shake or stir to mix. Place canning lid on jar and screw ring on the jar tightly. Place the jar on a counter at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) and allow the mixture to macerate over 3-4 days, so that a thick and delicious syrup is made. Shake the jar vigorously at least once a day, or use a spoon to stir up the mixture.

After 3-4 days, when a syrup is made and the sugar is dissolved, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the solids, reserving the syrup in a measuring cup. Once strained, measure the amount of syrup made and add in the same amount of vinegar (about 1-1.5 cups) and stir to mix well. Store in a clean airtight jar and refrigerate.

To serve, I mix about 2 ounces of shrub with 6 ounces of water (or carbonated water), and drink over ice. Shrubs can also be used as a zingy and unique cocktail mixer. And don’t toss those solids! They are great to mix with plain yogurt for a quick smoothie or poured into popsicle molds for an easy, homemade popsicle.

 

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For more stone fruit inspiration, follow:

Facebook: @WAStoneFruit

Twitter: @WAStoneFruit

Instagram: @wastatestonefruitgrowers

Website: https://wastatefruit.com/

Canning Recipe: Drunken Peach Jam (No Added Liquid or Powdered Pectin)

Drunken Peaches minnesotafromscratch.com recipe

I have been so fortunate to receive fresh peaches from the Washington State Fruit Commission this month. When they were delivered, it was an unseasonably cold September day in Minnesota, that felt like the onset of winter was near. So, it really brightened up the kitchen when we tore open the box of fresh yellow peaches.

I went straight to work by washing, chopping and simmering the peaches, making small batches of different flavored jams. I did have a few “OK” outcomes and a few winners that dazzled our tongues.  I spent eight hours straight in the kitchen, preserving all but 10 peaches that I kept aside for fermented recipes. I’ll be keeping a couple recipes a secret for now. But I had to share a couple of the winning recipes with you, and I’m starting with this drunken peach jam recipe.

Peaches are one of my favorite fruits to preserve with because they don’t require much prep work and they boil down to a jam consistency in a timely manner, which means it’s a quick and easy fruit to preserve – and that makes them favorable to me. I’ve seen tons of peach jam recipes that require added pectin to set, but that is totally not the case with this recipe… no need to take the extra step by adding pectin, this will set perfectly without.

I leave the skins on the peaches in this recipe because leaving them on makes the prep work even that much easier. I do not mind the skins in my jams, in fact I hardly notice them. And if anything, I think they offer a prettier colored jam in the end.

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Drunken Peach Jam

Yield: 3 – 8 ounce jelly jars

4 cups diced yellow peaches, pitted, skins on (or off if you prefer it that way)

1 1/4 cups granulated organic or non-GMO sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup whiskey (you will taste the flavor, so pick one you like)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup finely chopped apple, peeled (optional – I like the additional crunch, but they are not required)

Wash peaches, remove any bruised or flawed areas from fruit. Remove pits and rough chop into chunks (bite-sized). Add peaches to a large heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot and use a potato masher to carefully breakdown the peaches somewhat. Add sugar, vanilla, whisky, apple chunks (optional) and lemon juice and bring the fruit to a medium-high simmer. Simmer until the peaches breakdown and the mixture begins to thicken (about 20-30 mins). Stir often to avoid burning, especially as the mixture thickens and is close to being done. If you aren’t sure how to determine when your jam is set, click here.

TO WATER BATH CAN: Ladle the hot peach jam into warm prepared jars. Use a funnel to safely transfer the mixture, leaving ½” of head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a dampened, clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel and again with a dry towel. Place the canning lid over the rim of the jar, and screw the ring on until just-snug on the jar. Process in the water bath canner for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the water bath with canning tons and place them on a towel-covered surface for 12 hours without touching. Once completely cooled, remove the ring and test that the lid has securely sealed onto each jar. Refrigerate after breaking the seal.

SKIP WATER BATH CANNING: Allow the jam to cool, add the lid and ring and store in the refrigerator. The jam will keep for several months refrigerated.

For more stone fruit inspiration, follow:

Facebook: @WAStoneFruit

Twitter: @WAStoneFruit

Instagram: @wastatestonefruitgrowers

Website: https://wastatefruit.com/

What is a Certified Master Food Preserver and How Do You Become One?

Certified Master Food Preserver Graduates (and instructors on the ends) – Summer 2018 ~Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

I’ve received so many messages and e-mails from people asking where they can take a class like I took in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii this past June (2018), so here are some answers. The Master Food Preserver course is offered ALL OVER the place, but unfortunately Minnesota and Wisconsin have cancelled their courses for now and that’s why I went to Hawaii. Other states around the country are also phasing it out, due to “lack of funding”. This seems like an essential course to have, especially for us Midwesterner’s, that live in a frozen tundra for a good chunk of the year. There is nothing like cracking open a jar of food preserved in the summer when it’s the dead of winter, I tell ya….

But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about what a Certified Master Food Preserver is. A Master Food Preserver (MFP) is someone that has completed the intensive certification course (usually offered) through the Extension Service in their county. They have received in-depth training of up-to-date USDA-approved methods of food preservation for preserving food safely and successfully at home. A MFP must also have a desire to teach others how to preserve, because a MFP is required to volunteer 40+ hours (varies per program) within their community each year and teach others how to preserve food. Each program is a bit different, varying from county to county. For example, Maine offers a course that is 10 Fridays in a row and New York offers the course in 3 days, back-to-back.

The course I took in Kona was spread out over 3 weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I had to go to Kona for 2.5 weeks — OH, SHUCKS ;). Though the class layout and the cost of the class varies location by location, the material taught should pretty much be the same. At the end of the course, there is a long test with multiple choice, fill in the blank and essay questions (they gave us 4 hours to complete it) and as part of passing our class, we even had to present a 20-minute demo in front of our class and instructors, on which we were graded. Oh, and we had quizzes every night too and there was tons of reading and hands on kitchen time. It was A LOT OF WORK but I loved every single minute of it.

Why did I want to become a MFP? Well, because I teach people how to can and ferment pretty much every day. I write books about it and I want to learn everything I can possibly can so I can be an even better resource for YOU. Plus, the course not only teaches you about water bath canning and fermenting, but also goes into topics that I’m not as well versed in, such as dehydrating, pressure canning, freezing and charcuterie. It also has a large emphasis on food safety and proper food handling to avoid food borne illnesses (which is completely avoidable by the way!).

So, how do you become one? I’d start with a general search on google. See what comes up near you. If you need to travel a state or two, be sure to check with the director of the course to make sure you are allowed to attend before purchasing the class.

If you have any questions I didn’t answer, post in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

If you missed my blog posts about being in Hawaii, here is my summary of Week 1 and my summary of Week 2.

To be notified of future food preservation classes in the Twin Cities, please e-mail me at: minnesotafromscratch(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line “Future Classes”.

7 Days Until Release of: WECK Small-Batch Preserving: Year-Round Recipes for Canning, Fermenting, Pickling and More

The countdown is on! My second book will officially be published in just one week from today. I am so excited to share it with everyone. I know many of you have questions about how to can with WECK jars and I hope that I have successfully answered all your questions with my step-by-step guide. In addition to canning with WECK jars, I have also included recipes on how to ferment, pickle and infuse with them. I even breakdown the variety of jars and explain which style is best for what method of preservation and include a quick reference guide to help you translate your standard canning jar recipes over to WECK jar sizing.

I started using WECK jars over a decade ago because I liked the fact that they have a glass lid. The only material touching my food is glass, no questionable toxic lining to worry about, as with other canning jars. A huge part of why I enjoy preserving food at home is because I have control of what ingredients I include in my preserves, so knowing that there are no toxic chemicals leaching into my preserve is incredibly important to me. Plus, with the lid being glass, I can reuse them over and over.

Last week I processed 20 pounds of tomatoes and turned them into homemade Bloody Mary Mix, one of my favorite recipes included in the new book. It’s hard to pick just one favorite because I included so many, such as fermented escabeche, homemade fruit shrub recipes, homemade alcohol infusions (you won’t be buying flavored vodka [or any infused liquor] ever again) and there are also 5 delicious guest recipes, contributed by amazing women, ranging from Canada to Florida.

If you haven’t reserved your copy yet, click here.

Also, my first book, Can It & Ferment It is still in a price war with other online retailers, and is available at the low price of just $11.55, it’s a great opportunity to stock up on a few copies for the holidays. You can order it here.

Be sure to use hashtags #CanItandFermentIt and #WECKSmallBatch when posting on social media so I can find your cookbook posts.

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