It was an especially busy summer in 2012, which meant that I didn't have as much free time to spend in the garden or in the kitchen as I would have expected. My canning larder is still somewhat stocked, but instead of canning quarts and quarts of peaches, I put a lot in the freezer. They fit nicely into gallon-sized bags and I created quite a stack in our small chest freezer.
Fast-forward a few months and we have also frozen blueberries, wild mushrooms, duck breasts and ready-to-eat foods like meatballs and crab cakes. the freezer is packed to the gills. it is a good thing, but the point of freezing food is to save it for eating, not for indefinite storage.
So for this month's Can It Up challenge, I looked to those peaches from New Hampshire in the freezer to make some peach compote flavored with maple syrup from Vermont and maple whiskey from Canada.
I let a gallon bag of peaches defrost in a saucepan. As they defrost, they release a lot of liquid, which means that I didn't need to add any water. I ended up with 7 cups of peaches and then added a half-cup of maple syrup. I brought the whole concoction to a low boil and then watched until the smallest peaches started to break apart but the larger pieces were still intact. Then I took it off the heat and added about a quarter of a cup of the maple whiskey. I used the Sortilege brand of maple whiskey because our friends who live in Quebec had gifted us a bottle, but Cabin Fever is a similar product that is sold in the US.
Poured into pint jars, I processed three jars for 25 minutes, plus had a scant cup leftover for tasting. This is when I realized I should have doubled the alcohol, as the fruit really soaked up the whiskey flavor. I think a half cup or even slightly more would have been a better proportion. I was happy with the half-cup of maple syrup as it wasn't overly sweet.
Another fun, easy canning project - perfect for the holiday season.
Happy New Year 2013!
Here's to enjoying the food in our freezers and pantries with people we love.