First we complain about the unbearable heat….now it is the rain !! In truth, the rain has cooled us enough that I’m back in the kitchen. I’ve never been crowned as such, however I am likely the ‘Condiment Queen’. My fridge (and now freezer, too) is filled with different jams, sauces, mayos, aioli, & syrups, so ‘cooking’ up a tasty dish is very simple….and at times even impressive…..or at least my friends think so. Maybe they just like to eat. When I call and say ‘I feel like cooking’, I almost always get a response of ‘I feel like eating’. I’d say that was a win-win for everyone.
This summer, I’ve been enamored with infusions, in just about everything I can think of….simple syrups, aqua frescas, vodka, tequila, and ice cream, which has led me to create some great fruit butters (or perhaps preserves), none of which have made it to the freezer. My original intention was to make-ahead holiday gifts. That’s not happening since they get consumed within a few weeks.
I was looking for ideas to use the purple basil I found at the Farmer’s Market and found a Peach Habanero Basil Jam recipe which I adapted. And, lucky for me I had everything needed in the fridge. The peaches were so ripe & sweet, I just let them simmer into a fruit butter, eliminating the pectin, plus I use splenda instead of sugar in most of my recipes. The hot ‘n spicy is just enough to perk up the taste buds, plus the basil adds a note which almost tickles your mouth with freshness. I’ve always got some variety of french cheese from my local Wegman’s, which pairs great with fruit butter for either an appetizer or dessert. This week I experimented with grilling fresh pizza dough which was excellent with cheese and this peach jam. It would also be excellent with pork, chicken or served with ice cream. Or try it with honeyed-mascarpone. Enjoy !!
PEACH HABANERO BASIL PRESERVES
Adapted from http://www.lifeinrecipes.com
- 5 cups peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar or Splenda
- 3 habanero peppers, stems removed and four slits cut into the sides (leave them whole)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 large sprigs of purple basil
- Combine peaches, sugar/splenda, peppers and lemon juice in a saucepan. Stir to mix, then let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the peaches to release some of their juices.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low and allow to gently boil and reduce to a jam-like consistency. This could take as many as 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- When it is still jammy or slightly runny, add the basil, leaving it whole.
- When it has fully thickened, remove habanero peppers and basil sprigs from the mixture and discard. A few small pieces of basil remained in the jam, which add a lovely speckling to the color. Allow to cool in pan.
- Fill the hot sterilized jars or small plastic containers, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.
- Store in fridge for 1 month or freeze for up to a year.