Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Fruit is So Yummy

I am sure that I have been blessed as I have had the opportunity to pick great fruit all summer. It started with cherries and has progressed through apricots to nectarines, peaches and plums. I just wish that I had more freezer space to accommodate the riches of fruit that I have received.

To combat the lack of freezer space, I have been cooking some of the fruit with great results. 2 of my latest, greatest accomplishments have been apricot ginger butter and plum ginger butter. They are simple to make and delicious on their own or mixed into savory dishes such as my Sweet and Sour Squash, which I will be making for a cooking demonstration this evening.

To make the fruit butter all you do is cut up the fruit and put it in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. My 4-quart Fagor pressure cooker works well for this (without its pressure lid). Cook over medium heat. Use a microplane grater and add ginger to your liking as the fruit cooks. Add sweetener to taste. I use agave syrup which is a low glycemic index sweetener that may be almost as sweet as sugar but doesn't give you that fast blood sugar rise. The agave is much more expensive, though.

I cook the fruit until it gets thick. And then it's done.

When it's plum season, there are lots of plums and this is a great way to use them. You could potentially add some spices to the plums, if you like. I haven't tried that yet.

Once the fruit is put into glass jars, you can can the jars to seal them in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes. I won't go into the canning process but will say that I like to do what is called small batch canning. I might do 4 to 6 half-pint jars at a time, and that's all. It's easy to do and helps me use the fruits of my labor. Yes, I do pick the fruit myself.

If I did all this in a certified kitchen, I supposed that I could sell it but for now, I will enjoy it myself. And during the holiday season, what's left will become special gifts. This year, people might really be in luck. Need to get picking again...

No comments: