Fresh Canned Peaches

Fresh Canned PeachesI love this time of year when the fruit is on in abundance.  Peaches are one of my favorites!  This recipe is simple and a healthier version of the stuff processed in syrup.  I usually buy 2 large boxes form the farmer’s market to make 20 quarts plus some for making fruit leather or jam.


Fresh Peaches

1 tablespoon organic sugar per quart

1 teaspoon citric acid per quart

Boiling hot water

Blanch the peaches for 30 seconds.  Remove the skin and pit and cut into slices.  Place peaches in jar filling to rim.  Add the sugar and citric acid.  Pour boiling hot water into the jar until there is a 3/4 inch space to the top.  Clean the edges and put on lids and rings.  Process for 25 minutes.

Homemade Canned Tomatoes

Homemade Canned TomatoesA much healthier and inexpensive alternative to store bought canned tomatoes.  This recipe is simple, but just takes a bit of time.  A day of canning tomatoes is always worth the year’s supply!  I usually by 3 large boxes from the farmer’s market to produce 30 quarts.  We go through a lot of tomatoes through the year, using it in soup, chili and stews.


Fresh tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 1-3 minutes depending on how ripe the tomatoes are.  Remove skin and core.  Cut in to quarters and tightly pack into clean quart size glass jars.  Place in hot water bath.  I like to have water boiling to add to the bath to keep it warm.  Just before putting the lids on add the salt.  Depending on how large your processor is you should be able to fit 5-6 quarts inside.  Process for 45 minutes.

Cinnamon Pear Jam

Cinnamon Pear JamThis jam is the essence of fall!  It’s so good on toast or even with savory pot stickers!  Delicious!  This recipe is simple and requires no pectin.  Makes 8 pints of jam.


16 cups pear puree

8 cups sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

Process the pears through a Victoria Strainer and pour the puree into a large pot.  Add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves.  Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat until thickened, about 45-60 minutes.  Place in pint glass jars and process for 10 minutes.



Spiced Pear Sauce

Spiced Pear SauceThe pears are on!  This year I decided to try making pear sauce as suggested by a friend and it worked out beautifully!  Just wish I had more pears!  This recipe is simple and taste wonderful!  We like to eat it with our pancakes instead of syrup or with plain yogurt.  Makes 6 quarts.


16 cups pear puree

4 lemons juiced

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ginger

2 teaspoons vanilla

Process the pears through a Victoria Strainer and add the puree to a large pot.  Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10minutes.  Add the vanilla and pour into quart bottles.  Process for 20 minutes.


Raspberry Jam (with or without jalapenos)

Jalapeno Raspberry Jam

The past week I have canned, preserved, dried and slaved over the hot stove!  But every jar has been worth it!  We will be enjoying the fruits of our labors for months to come!  This recipe is intense and wonderful, with or without the hint of jalapenos!  Try using it as a spread with cream cheese on crackers as an appetizer!


4 cups organic sugar

4 cups fresh raspberries

2-4 jalapenos, chopped and seeded ( I used 2 and it turned out mild)

Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes.  (Warm sugar dissolves better)

Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.  Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing the berries with a potato masher as they heat.  Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add warm sugar, return to a boil and boil until mixture will form a ge, about 5 – 10 minutes.

Ladle into hot jars and process for 10 minutes.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

My mom used to make this chili sauce for us as kids.  The jar was empty in one sitting!  This recipe is so good on scrambled eggs!  Here is the recipe for both the eggs and chili sauce!

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

2 fresh eggs

sea salt

fresh ground black pepper

homemade onion powder

2-3 tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese

In a medium frying pan sprayed with Pam, crack eggs over medium high heat.  Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add a pinch or two of onion powder and the cheese.  Stir gently with a fork and serve once thoroughly cooked.  Serve with sweet chili sauce.


Sweet Chili Sauce

25 large tomaotoes diced (blanch with skin removed first)

4-6 large onions

4 large green bell peppers, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, chopped with seeds removed

1.5 oz. jar of McCormick’s Pickling Spice wrapped in cheese cloth and tied with string

2 cups apple cider vinegar

3 cups sugar

2 tbsp. sea salt

Add all ingredients into a large stainless steel pot.  Cook down to a good consistency until it has thickened to about half in volume.  Put in jars no bigger than a pint jar.  Process for 10 minutes in caner.



Lavender Peach Jam

Lavender Peach Jam

The peaches are in season and in abundance.  Whether you grow them on your own tree or buy them fresh at the Farmer’s Market, now is the time to preserve as much as possible for the colder months.  This lovely jam has a hint of lavender making it perfect for any occasion!  Leave it chunky or puree your peaches making it a smooth spread.


2 tbsp. dried lavender flowers

1/2 cup boiling water

4 cups finely chopped peaches (5-6 peaches)

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

6 cups organic sugar

1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

Place lavender flowers in a small bowl.  Pour boiling water over flowers and steep for 20-30 minutes.  Strain and discard flowers.

Blanch and chop the peaches if the skins don’t come off easily.

Combine lavender liquid, peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a very large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.  Bring to a full boil over high heat and oil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in pectin.

Ladle into hot jars and process for 10 minutes.

Growing and Using Strawberries

Sea Scape Strawberries

Every garden should have a small strawberry patch in my opinion!  Nothing beats the burst of flavor from a home grown strawberry!   They are easy to grow in a container or in the ground.  Most strawberries produce their best within their first 5 initial years.   There are 3 different types of strawberries:

  • June-bearing – produce an abundant crop one time in June.  Good for making jam or canning.
  • Ever-bearing – produce in the late spring and late summer.  Can produce during the middle of the summer if temps are cool enough to allow the plant to set flowers.
  • Day-neutral – once established and have reached maturity, the plants will produce all summer long, increasing yields with cooler temps.

All varieties require at least 8 hours of sunlight to produce good fruit.  Strawberries prefer well-draining, rich soil that has been amended with lots of organic matter.  They can be susceptible to root rot if grown in heavy wet soil.  The best time to buy strawberry plants is in the early spring in bare-root form.  They usually come in bundles of 10.  Make sure the roots look healthy and have stayed moist.  Larger potted plants are more expensive and do not produce more than less expensive bare-root plants.

After the first year, the first daughters (or runners) can replace the original mother plant.  This keeps the fruit production high and the size large.  Remove any other runners that come off the 1st daughters.


Harvested Strawberries

  I grow an ever-bearing variety called “Sea Scape” for it’s large berries and wonderful sweet flavor.  Just this year so far I have harvested about 4lbs.  Here are just a few recipes we love using our own home grown strawberries!

Strawberry Pecan Feta Salad

This simple and beautiful salad will impress anyone over with it’s candied pecans, fresh strawberries and creamy feta cheese!  I love to serve it with a homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette!

Strawberry, Pecan, Feta Salad

Serves 8

1 cup candied pecans

2-4 T. agave

2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered depending on size (reserve 1/3 cup berries for dressing)

12 cups fresh greens from the garden or organic spring mix

1 (7-ounce package) crumbled feta cheese or more if you like

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking oil.  Add the pecans and agave.  Stir continuously until thickened and the pecans are coated well.  About 10 minutes.  Be careful not to let them burn.  Remove from heat.Prepare the greens, strawberries and feta in a large salad bowl.  Add the pecans once completely cooled.  Just before serving, drizzle the dressing and toss.


Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mix 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup strawberries, 3 T. balsamic vinegar, 1 T. sugar and salt and pepper to taste in a blender.  Pulsing a few times leaving a few chunks of strawberries.  Drizzle over salad just before serving.


Strawberry Freezer Jam

Freezer jam is so easy to make!  No hassle and it’s quick!  It has less sugar than other preserves, making it a healthier alternative without the loss of flavor!  Try eating some with my Rustic Rosemary Loaf!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 cups mashed strawberries or fruit of your choice.  I like to use my blender.

1 cup organic sugar

1/3 cup instant clear gel

Mix together the sugar and clear gel then add the berries.  Place in jars of your choice, leaving a 1″ head space.  Place the lid on and freeze!  Can be kept in the freezer for up to 6months.


Strawberry Country Cake

This beautiful cake says summer time!  Made with lemon and orange zest, it adds a delightful addition to any gathering!  From the Barefoot Contessa cookbook “Parties”!

Strawberry Country Cake

For the cake:

3/4 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs at room temperature

3/4 cup sour cream at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest ( 1 lemon)

1/2 teaspoons orange zest ( 1 orange)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced


Preheat oven to 350`.  Butter or spray two 8-inch round cake pans.

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  On medium speed, add the eggs, sour cream, zests and vanilla.  Mix well.  Sift together the flour, corn starch, soda and salt.  Add the flour mixture slowly into the batter.  Mix until just combined and smooth.

Pour batter evenly into pans, smooth tops with spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature.

To make filling and topping, mix the cream, sugar and vanilla with beaters until stiff peaks form.  You can either stack the cakes on each other or slice them in half, layering with 4 levels.  Place the cream on each layer, topped with berries and repeat until complete.   Serve immediately!