Loving the fresh foods of Summer…Refrigerator Peach Basil Preserves!

I know I haven’t blogged in a while.  The days and nights seem to be flying by and like most people I know, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day.  So it is really hard for me to believe that we’re back to Summer on the Eastern Shore.  There are so many reasons that I love Summer most; napping on the beach and swimming in the ocean, the smell of sunscreen, salt water and sleeping with the windows open to name a few.

Not surprisingly, one of my very favorite perks of Summer happens to be the fresh food; vine ripe tomatoes, fragrant herbs, corn on the cob, watermelon and of course fresh peaches.  Our friend and neighbor Jason just brought us a bucket of his “sweet as sugar” peaches so I instantly thought…Refrigerator Peach Preserves!  Then I noticed that our Basil plants needed a harvesting so I thought Refrigerator Peach Basil Preserves.

Honestly, I’m not one to stand in a kitchen filled with jars, lids and boiling water baths so Refrigerator Preserves and Jams are right up my ally.  I also am not a huge fan of using pectin, most fruits contain enough pectin to jell on their own if prepared correctly anyway.  Plus, with Refrigerator Preserves and Jam you don’t have to be an expert cook or canner and you can be uber creative with your combinations of fruit/herbs.

Saturday must have been my lucky day.  Not only did Jason deliver some beautiful peaches, but my husband and friend Melinda offered to peel and chop the entire bucket, about 30 peaches, to which I added lemon juice and sugar.  I covered the concoction and allowed it to macerate over night.  After adding the fresh basil which I sliced thin, all that was left to do was to cook, reduce and enjoy.

As a general rule, I use one pound of fruit to 1 tablespoon lemon juice to one cup of sugar and cook over medium heat until the mixture coats the tines of a fork.  If you place a dollop on a plate and place it in the refrigerator for several minutes, it should resemble the consistency of ketchup.  Seal in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to two weeks or place in freezer.

Of course, I enjoy this type of preserve/jam on toast, but you can just as easily glaze grilled chicken with it or pour it over some softened cream cheese and serve with crusty french baguette for a “no brainer” appetizer.  I think I’ll be trying my hand at Vidalia Onion Peach Chutney next.  Enjoy!Image!