Category: handmade

Pickled Peaches

I bought 12 peaches. One molded and attracted a hoard of fruit flies that made me nearly gag. I didn’t want to throw them all away (expensive!), so I stuck them in the freezer to bide my time and kill any remaining flies. That was 5 weeks ago. Here’s my plan: pickled peaches from Saveur. Any tips for a first time pickler?

INGREDIENTS

3½ cups sugar
1½ cups white vinegar
14–16 ripe medium peaches, peeled
8 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
1″ piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a canning pot of water to a boil. Submerge 2 one-quart canning jars and their lids and ring bands in boiling water; sterilize equipment for 10 minutes. Remove from boiling water with tongs, draining jars, and transfer to a clean dish towel.

2. Combine sugar, vinegar, and 1½ cups water in a heavy medium-size pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Working in batches slide peaches into the pickling liquid and cook, turning once or twice, until peaches soften but before they turn fuzzy, 4–5 minutes per batch. Transfer peaches to a bowl as done.

3. Divide cloves, cinnamon, and ginger between the 2 jars. Cut any peaches with brown spots into halves or quarters, discarding pits, and trim away the brown spots. Spoon peaches into the jars, filling the gaps with the halves and quarters and packing the jars as tightly as possible.

4. Return pickling liquid to a boil, then pour boiling liquid into each jar, covering peaches and filling jar to 1/4″ from the rims. Let liquid settle in jars, then add more boiling liquid as necessary. Discard any remaining liquid. Wipe jar rims with a clean dish towel, place lids on jars, and screw on ring bands.

5. Transfer filled jars to a canning rack, submerge in a canning pot of gently boiling water (jars should be covered by at least 1″ of water), and process for 10 minutes. Carefully lift jars from water with jar tongs and place on a dish towel at least 1″ apart to let cool undisturbed for 24 hours. To test that jars have properly sealed, press on center of each lid. Remove your finger; if lid stays down, it’s sealed. Refrigerate any jars of pickled peaches that aren’t sealed; use within 4 weeks.

MAKES 2 QUARTS

DIY Pita Bread

This recipe works! Two successful batches later I am beside and puffed up like a proud penguin. I MAKE BREAD. Edible, tasty, looks-like-store bought bread. Raawwwr. Thanks to the Wimbush Family Pita Bread recipe for the instructions and confidence.

1 TBS yeast (Equals one of those square yeast packages that comes in sets of 3 in the baking aisle)
1 ¼ cup warm tap water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour (This makes it taste better and is healthier)
2 – 2 ½ cups all-purpose white flour
You’re gonna want an electric mixer too

Dissolve the yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and whole wheat flour plus ½ cup of white flour. With the dough hook attachment, beat to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. (It will break apart and look kinda rough). Add a bit more flour and knead 6-8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. (It will form a cohesive glob on the hook).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces for larger pitas or 10 for smaller. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling-pin into ¼ inch thick discs. TIP: Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’. Thinner ones cook faster and puff more; thicker ones turn out more like a naan bread.

Lightly flour 2-3 cookie sheets and set on top of the stove. Preheat to 425 F. With a large spatula or your hands, move the flattened disks to the cookie sheets. Let them rest on the floured surface on or near the stove for 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed. Don’t worry if they don’t double in size or look perceptibly larger. They’re okay. You should be able to smell the yeast and when you poke ’em, your finger should leave a little dent. If not, whatever — worst case scenario is that you’ll make crackers instead of pitas.

Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four-inch high pitas. It’s epic. Store bought and the Pioneer Woman ain’t got nuthin’ on me!

Cool completely before storing or risk stale pitas. Apparently you can also freeze ’em, but they haven’t stuck around long enough yet for me to attest to that.