Since I was determined not to face another winter in which my only option for fruit was apples, I've been prepping for our winter hibernation. I've tried my hand at (from left to right) sweet cherries, peach jam, applesauce with plums, and triple berry-ness/syrup/jam (more on that later). And, my freezer is busting at the seams with lots of sweet summer veggies in Ziploc bags.
I'm not afraid of no winter...
Sweet cherries These cherries are a bit of work because there is a lot of stemming, sorting, and pricking involved. Instead of pitting the cherries, which apparently robs them of flavour, pricking each cherry end with a pin helps to avoid splitting during processing. I followed this recipe for raw pack cherries (the site looks kind of industrial, but there are lots of great canning tips and ideas for fruit). Made 8 pints of cherries!
Peach jam (truth be told, the peaches were bought with the intention of plain ol' canned peaches, but I neglected to buy the "freestone" variety, so my efforts soon became peach jam) To make two pints, I used 4 cups crushed, peeled peaches, 1/2 cup water, and about 2 cups sugar (I made this batch with 3 cups and it was too sweet...so I would try 2 cups next time). I followed the canning instructions on the same site as above. If you do actually remember to buy freestone peaches, these lovely ladies have a great site of instructions and pictures.
Applesauce with plums I like my applesauce with a little kick, and cinnamon can only do so much. The plums add a really nice level of tartness and spice. I used a dozen apples and 18 plums, and followed a recipe for basic applesauce (omitting any called-for sugar or spices). Made 5 pints of plum-apple goodness. I'll probably use it on french toast or enjoy it straight from the jar.
Triple berry-ness/syrup/jam I wanted to make jam. I bought the low sugar pectin and was just going to use some of my frozen blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Then I realized that jam might not set properly in my pint jars (my recipe called for half-pint jars). Since I love anything fruity on my pancakes, waffles, and other bready brunch fare, I decided to make berry syrup of my frozen berries. After boiling the fruit, straining most of the seeds, and following this recipe for berry syrup, my "syrup" was extremely sweet and set up like a jam! My triple berry-ness is a little too sweet and congealed to be a syrup, but a little too runny to be a jam. I'll still enjoy it on toast -- french or buttered.