Peach Fruit Leather

I found another use for some of those peaches.  A few days ago I made fruit leather.  When I was pitting, peeling, slicing, dicing, freezing, and generally up to my elbows in peaches I also pureed some.  I froze the puree and last night while I was organizing my almost overflowing freezer I pulled out the bag of puree to make into fruit leather.

Over the weekend, while grocery shopping, I picked up a jug of unsweetened apple sauce.  With the peach fruit leather you need to add equal amounts peach puree and apple sauce for texture.  I am not aiming for the fruit by the foot texture.  I want it to be thicker and more like those Stretch Island fruit leathers you can buy in the impulse section in the natural foods grocery store, you know, the expensive ones.

So all together I ended up with 6 cups of purees mixed together and the spoonful I tasted was delicious.  I lined an 8 inch square Pyrex casserole dish and a 9×13″ casserole dish with parchment paper.  I saw online directions that said to use plastic wrap and tape but the thought of that in the oven makes me uncomfortable.

Then I put about 2 cups of the mixture in the 8″ square dish and 4 cups in the 9×13″ dish (each was a little less than 1/2″ thick) and I waited for this French Toast I had baking in the oven to finish.  I put the 2 dishes of puree in the oven at 275* for 1 hour then I reduced the heat to 175* for 8 hours.  After that I turned off the oven and left them in overnight without opening the oven.  I woke up the next morning to some pretty great fruit leather.  I pulled them out, peeled them gently from the parchment paper and sliced them in approximately even slices.  I am not a total perfectionist so I wasn’t too worried about the sizes being exact.  I trimmed the kind of ugly edges off to make much prettier strips.

Then I taste tested the edge pieces and wow! I added no sweetener to this.  I was going for a natural treat and I achieved it.  If I had made my own applesauce I would have used that but it isn’t quite apple season yet.  Because of the price we paid for the peaches and the applesauce this entire treat of 20 fruit leathers cost  $3.44 or $0.17 each… about 1/3 the price of buying an equivalent amount of Stretch Island brand fruit leathers.

Amelia’s review: “These taste really good, just like the grocery shop ones.”

Annabelle’s review: “These taste yellow.”

 

 

 

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Peach Jam Recipe

I have gotten a request from a good friend for the peach jam recipe we used.  I of course found them all on Pinterest.  I made 4 different versions of peach jam because I am usually up for experimenting.  The first version I made was this Vanilla Peach Jam.  It doesn’t use pectin so it has to simmer for hours to get to the right consistency.  I already had the vanilla beans on hand because I make my own Vanilla Extract.  But if you buy individual beans at your grocery store they will set you back $3-4 each.  Ouch.  So I order about 1/4 pound of them each year from somebody in California who sells them  on eBay.  They are great quality and you get a lot more than you would think for the price.  I think I spent a total of $9 last year and I got 27.5 beans.  It was fantastic.  I made over a half gallon of vanilla extract.

My Vanilla Peach Jam was simmering. Do you see the huge vanilla bean there on the bottom?

My Vanilla Peach Jam was simmering. Do you see the huge vanilla bean there on the bottom?

The second version of peach jam I made required pectin and boy was it so much easier with pectin.  I followed the recipe on the pectin package and it turned out pretty great.  This is the version I opened for the girls’ PB&J’s last week.  I also gave a pint size jar of this to our friends who went camping with us.

The third version I made was an overnight crock-pot version.  Never again will I try that.  I started it after 10pm so it would be ready early in the morning after cooking for 8 hours like the recipe said.  No, just NO! This resulted in a nasty smelling, burnt looking and tasting, pathetic excuse for jam.  If you want to try making jam in the crock pot then please do it during the day when to can constantly check on it.  This whole batch got dumped down the garbage disposal.

And this is the color you DO NOT want your jam to be.  Crock Pot Jam was a failure.

And this is the color you DO NOT want your jam to be. Crock Pot Jam was a failure.

The fourth version was a no-pectin version again but following a basic recipe.  It was easier to do the simmering this time because I had the practice from the day before.  I also knew what consistency I was looking for and it felt like it just took a lot less time.

All of my pretty jars of Peach Jam.

All of my pretty jars of Peach Jam.

I really enjoyed being able to make all of this jam for super cheap.  I stopped in at Walmart to get the lids with bands.  The store had them stocked in the wrong place so I got a killer deal on them.  And because of this I decided to buy my bags of sugar there as well.  My budget for supplies was the $11 I had in my pocket.  And at $8 even it left me a little extra to stop in at the local coffee place and grab a much desired fancy coffee concoction.

I got my lids with bands for only $1.48 because they were stocked in the wrong place in the store.  I saved $2 per box because of their error.

I got my lids with bands for only $1.48 because they were stocked in the wrong place in the store. I saved $2 per box because of their error.

My bags of super cheap sugar and the lids with bands needed to create a good seal.

My bags of super cheap sugar and the lids with bands needed to create a good seal.

Do you make your own jams?

Easy Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

Hiya! Tonight we are having what is smelling like a delicious dinner.  My Husband Extraordinaire found the recipe here and I made one simple modification.  Instead of individual spices I used 2 Tablespoons of Taco Seasoning.  I just happened to have it on hand and I was out of chili powder from making our Freezer Burritos earlier this week.

This meal is gluten free but definitely not dairy free.  And from the smell of all of those yummy things melding together it will be amazing.  You can never go wrong with Rotel (I buy the store brand diced tomatoes with green chilies) and cream cheese.  This looks like it will make enough for at least a few nights of leftovers.

As you readers know we utilize our leftovers to the best of our abilities.  We make lunches, freeze them, and even serve them for dinner again and push another meal out a day or two.  This saves a lot of money.  When I know I have a week of scrumptious dinners that will leave leftovers I don’t have to worry as much about buying lunch supplies… this then frees up some room in the budget to stock up on special things we don’t normally splurge on.

What is your favorite leftover meal?