Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn Preserves for the Pantry

The end of the summer doesn't necessarily mean the end of canning season. Autumn offers several opportunities to bring your canner back out--and as a result make a mess in your kitchen again!

For me, I decided just to make a few things that we could freeze easily without having to bust out the canner. Perhaps next summer and fall I will be more motivated to preserve more but being hugely pregnant has a way of zapping your energy :)

Fall is traditionally the harvest season and, thus, there are still several fruits and vegetables that can be grown and preserved during this time. Winter squash and pumpkin especially are great examples. Here are just a few:

-pickled beets
-apple and pumpkin butter
-green beans
-snap peas
-fall radish relish
-dried beans and dried southern peas
-pumpkin puree

beans for pickling, preserving, drying, or eating fresh!

Later in the summer we went to a local orchard and bought a large bag of delicious peaches and a variety of apples. I decided to freeze most of the peaches and apples in plastic baggies for making pies, dessert toppings, in yogurt, or as a fresh winter treat warmed up anytime.

Here's how I froze the peaches:

Step 1- wash peaches and working in batches, blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute in boiling water

Step 2- transfer to ice water bath and when cool, peel skins off peaches.

Step 3- cut up or slice peaches, remove pits, and put in large bowl

Step 4- Cover all peaches with water and put equal parts of a teaspoon of lemon juice to cups of water to prevent browning. Some people like to add sugar to the peaches and/or water, but I left that out.

Step 5- after soaking a bit, transfer peaches to plastic freezer bags (I used quart sized), label with date, and place in freezer on flat surface. I'm going to try and use my peaches up within the next 4-5 months to hopefully avoid them getting freezer burn.

For apples, you can basically use the same process but you may want to layer the peeled apples onto cookie sheets first, freeze for an hour or two, and then put into plastic freezer bags so that they don't all stick together in one clump. We also used the apples to make a couple of jars of yummy apple butter in the crock pot that we put straight into the fridge for eating.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Cinnamon Peach Jam

I reserved some of the peaches, especially the ones that were overripe or going bad, for making jam. I combined several recipes into one and decided on a small batch of cinnamon peach freezer jam without pectin. I used about a tablespoon of lemon juice instead with about 1 cup of sugar and a couple sprinkles of cinnamon to taste. You may also want to add a little bit of coarse salt.

Step 1- peel peaches (or blanch and peel) and place into food processor or blender to process until peaches are cut up into small bits. Place blended peaches in pot on stove.

Step 2- Add sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon and bring to boil, cooking for about 15 to 25 minutes or until jam will set up. You can test this by sticking a spoonful of the jam into the freezer for a few minutes and when taken out if it does not slide off of spoon too easily or fall off in drips it is done cooking.

Step 3- Ladle peach jam into clean jars, leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims and apply lids. Label tops of jars after cooling. Place into freezer or refrigerator if planning to use immediately. Peach jam can be refrigerated for up to 2 months!

What have you put up lately to have on hand for the winter? 


  1. HI Megan! Love these ideas and will have to use them for all fresh fruits and veggies so we can have them all year long!

  2. Great ideas! Everything looks so delicious. I love that photo of your beans in the wire basket - so pretty! I'd be chomping on the fresh beans while canning :)

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