Monday, September 10, 2012

Peach butter, peach ginger chicken, mustard green beans, baked apples

After having a kitchen filled with freshly picked peaches something had to be done with them immediately- eekk! Peaches have a zero tolerance for shelf life so I decided to do some canning. My childhood fears of monitoring an ancient pressure cooker that I was told (nonchalantly) had actually exploded, are certainly not the whole story of canning. Water bath canning is actually pretty easy. Phew, what a relief.
This is a two-part recipe. But so easy, I promise.

Crock pot peach butter with ginger and mint

(c) Can Stock Photo

Part 1: First I took about four pounds of peaches and cut them in half and filled the crock pot.

(makes 7 half pint jars)
  • 4 lbs of peaches -$12
  • 4 Tbsp of lemon juice -$0.20
  •      ½ cup of honey (optional. I didn't include)
  • ¾ tsp ginger (not local)- $0.25
  •  2 tsp orange peel dried (not local)- $0.50
  • 1/4 cup diced mint leaves (from my garden) or $0.50
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon (not local) $0.25
(Bonus if you have two or three slightly tart apples you can throw in)

Total cost (not including jars or supplies):  ~$13.75 or $1.96/jar

Take that you $5 half a half pint gourmet fruit butter in the store...

It was really simple. Put all in the crock pot with 1 cup of water and set it to low.  Stir occasionally till butter gets clumpy enough to not fall off a knife. The exact time will very with how moist your fruit is and how hot your crock pot gets. With the lid tipped slightly  mine took about 12 hours.

The nice thing about fruit butters is that they don't need any pectin or added sugar.

Part 2: The next day I put the peach butter into jars and processed it (boiled it) for fifteen minutes. Forget that you need a bunch of fancy equipment for canning. All you need is some jars with fresh lids for every batch, a deep pan (Mine was eight dollars. Check local estate sells and thrift stores.), some kind of wire rack to put at the bottom (I used a collapsible metal strainer), and the canning tongs (Around $5). The canning stage is really only for whatever you are not going to use immediately. An alternative to canning would be to put in jars with about 1 inch head space and freeze for 6 months.

Peach ginger chicken
Next the chicken.

Industrial chickens are quite disgusting and I try to eat them as little as possible. Raised in deplorable super cramped conditions and breed far beyond their normal limits they are de-beaked, over medicated, zombies. They also create all kinds of waste that threatens America's waterways. However these same industries frequently have a monopoly on the local chicken processing, and regulations make it difficult to transfer chicken so finding a free range local chicken can be an expensive and difficult proposition. Here in Oklahoma we have a distributor named DARP. The chicken can be ordered through the Oklahoma FoodCoop, a cornucopia of community and local foodstuffs. I ordered a whole one. (What chickens have other parts besides breasts?!) You can always split it with a group of friends.

  • 1 whole defrosted stewing chicken $5.95/lb for 4 lbs - $23.80
  • 1 cup of olive oil (not local) $2.00
  •  1 half pint of peach butter (see above) $1.96 (-3 Tbsp, if you want to make baked apples)
  •  3 sage leaves $0.10
  •  1/4 c soy sauce $0.50
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne $0.10
  • 1 cup of short brown rice (not local) $0.62

Total (for 12 people): $29.08
Total for 6 people: $14.54

This recipe would feed about 12 people. So for my totals I am going to include what we ate that night

Halfway through the cooking I added the short brown rice to the sauce. We only needed about a third of the chicken for dinner and I used the rest of it a few days later to make jambalaya and froze the rest.

Mustard Green Beans
  • 1 lb green beans -$2.00
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds $0.25
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt or 1/4 tsp of salt with 3 cloves mashed garlic.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
Total: $2.25

Sauté for five minutes. A old teacher of mine taught me this fabulous recipe. It is so delightfully simple and so good. I frequently find myself

Baked apples
3 large apple $1.20
3 Tbsp of the crockpot peach butter

Core the apples and put to bake on foil with 1 tbsp of the peach butter inside each. Just enough for a little sweet tooth satisfaction at the end. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

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