This will be a very short post, because there are a lot of peaches waiting on the kitchen counter that aren’t going to can themselves.
Last year I experimented with a few different ways to preserve the bounty from the Red Haven and Red Baron peach trees in the front yard. Of the 15 bushels (yikes) that we didn’t give away or eat fresh I froze some in white grape juice, made plain and brandied canned whole, canned pie filling, jam, and conserve. Summer 2010 also produced a tremendous harvest of Beta grapes and I eventually gave up on making grape jelly and canned them as juice instead. We really enjoyed the juice, and making concentrate was an efficient way to store vast quantities of produce. It also made killer popsicles.
Tonight I decided to make peach nectar and it was so successful that I think I may just turn everything into juice concentrate for the foreseeable future. Home made V8! Pear nectar! Harry Potter pumpkin juice – well, maybe not.
I pitted and then cooked the fruit lightly in a cup of lemonade and 1 C of sugar, just enough to soften it and bring out the juices. Then I put it, skins and all, through the food mill. The mill strainer that I chose made a fairly clear juice, although you can see that the amount of waste is fairly small. Next batch I’ll use a slightly larger hole and see if that produces a thicker “nectar”.
This was a successful experiment. Very tasty, and the entire process took less than two hours and only a cup of sugar. Now – Bellinis all around!