Thursday, August 14, 2014

Learn How to Can at the Grow Local Kitchen (Plus Here's an Easy Spiced Pickled Peaches Recipe)

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM

We've finally reached the point in the growing season where home gardeners might actually be able to get ahead of the varmints that tend to "harvest" vegetables before we can get them picked. At the same time, the produce at stores and farmers markets is spectacular and plentiful.

But it won't always be this way, and too soon we'll all be wishing we had some of those delicious tomatoes that are so readily available. That's where preserving comes in handy. Some methods are simple, like cold pickling or just freezing some cut vegetables in plastic bags for later use. But real canning requires some care and a real attention to sterilization to ensure safety when you pop that lid months from now.

Lyn Deardorff of the Preserving Now site wants to help you out, so she's teaching a class in the Grow Local Kitchen of the Nashville Farmers' Market to help keep you from wasting that wonderful garden bounty. The class costs $75 per person and will be held 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 31. Here's the class description from the official announcement:

Our Immersion Workshop covers all the basics in a four-hour complete, hands-on workshop, using the most popular and easiest method: water-bath canning. We emphasize safety guidelines along with tips for avoiding added sugars, salts, and other dietary concerns — along with NO preservatives, artificial coloring or other additives!

We'll do three of the most popular kinds of canning: A Pickle, A Tomato, and A Fruit. You'll receive a complete notebook of instruction and recipes (which we use in the class) along with a jar of each product to take home — 3 jars in all. We'll talk about using equipment you already have on hand, how to use your jarred food in various recipes such as entrees, lunches, appetizers, kids' meals.

You'll leave with the knowledge and confidence to do canning on your own — ready to stock your pantry for year-round seasonal goodness! All supplies, food and jars, plus instructions and recipes provided.

I'll totally skip over the "immersion workshop" pun that refers to the water-bath canning process. (Mainly because it's a better pun than I would have thought of.) Canning is something you can learn on your own or via books and the Internet, but any mistakes you might make may not be evident for months when it will be too late to start over until next year. Plus, mistakes can be dangerous to your health if you introduce harmful bacteria into your preserves.

If you want to try easy preservation and take advantage of the plentiful peaches that will be at their peak for only a short while longer, Deardorff has shared an easy Spiced Pickled Peaches recipe that you can experiment with. Or even better, take the whole class. Here's her peachy procedure:

Spiced Pickled Peaches

5 # Peaches
2 ½ cups Cider vinegar
4 cups Sugar
2 oz Ginger
2 ea Cinnamon stick
2 tsp Allspice
2 stars Anise
1 tsp Clove

Blanch peaches in boiling water for less than 1 minute or until the skins are loosened and then shock in ice water. Peel and slice the peaches and pack in jars.

Combine all other ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid over the peaches in jars and process in a boiling water bath for at least 5 minutes, more if the peaches are firm.

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