Why, hello there! Long time, no see. I’ve been kinda M.I.A. over the past few months, haven’t I? Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with me not wanting to write here (oh, do I want to write here!). It has everything to do with the fact that I am drowning in produce to preserve! I don’t think I quite realized how much my life was going to revolve around blanching, chopping, canning, freezing, and drying food when I signed on for the 1000 Jar Project.
I will write a big post with all of my thoughts about the 1000 Jar Project when the preserving season is over, but I’ll tell you right now, I’m feeling conflicted about the whole thing. When I go down into my basement pantry and see hundreds of jars of healthy produce waiting to be used throughout the winter, I get giddy. But when I have to skip going to the park with my kid because I have three bushels of ripe tomatoes sitting in my house? I get a little stabby.
We live in a day and age where we don’t need to preserve all of our own food for the winter, so canning is just a fun hobby for the vast majority of us. And like all things in life, our hobbies need to be approached with moderation or they stop being fun. I’m pretty much the queen of taking my hobbies, blowing them out of proportion, and sucking all the fun out of them.
Thankfully, the canning season is starting to wind down. I’m done canning tomatoes (I have a few more on the vine that I plan on freezing). And right now, I’m working on the second-to-last big fruit preserving push of the season—peaches! If I had to pick one crop that I would be sure to preserve each year, it’d be peaches. They are such a fleeting crop, and when they are ripe and coming off, they can’t be beat.
We have a low-spray fruit orchard about 10 minutes from our house where we can get peaches for a whopping $1 per pound. The trees are bowing over with fruit, and the picking is fast. Too fast. As in, we always go in with a pre-determined limit in mind, and end up getting way more than we bargained for. It took us about seven minutes to pick 150 pounds of peaches last week. We had planned on getting 50 pounds. See what I mean about blowing things out of proportion?
I’m actually doing a decent job of getting through the windfall of peaches (although, that means the focus is off of the tomatoes, corn, grapes, and green beans that also need some attention right now). I’ve got six gallons of peach slices in the freezer—amazing for smoothies. I did a batch of peach jam. And I got up 14 quarts of peach halves. Canned peach halves are one of my favorite foods to preserve and eat, so I’m hoping to get another couple dozen of those done in the next few days. I’d also like to do a big batch of peach salsa and some peach pie filling. We have this amazing tiny pie plate that is perfect for making a four-serving pie—so I want to put up small jars of pie filling so we can eat “fresh” peach pie all winter long.
And, of course, I’m also eating my weight in fresh peaches. I can’t even walk past the kitchen without grabbing one to nibble on. I’m eating them on toast. I’m eating them on pizza. I’m eating them in oatmeal. And, obviously, I’m eating them in dessert. I’m only a little ashamed to admit that I’ve eaten this single serving peach crisp for dessert every single night since we went peach picking. It is so easy to make (six ingredients! 20 minutes!). And so delicious (sweet! fruity! ooey gooey yummy!).
This crisp recipe is good for one, but it’s also easily scaleable. How cute would these little guys be served for dessert at a late Summer dinner party? I use either eight-ounce ramekins or wide-mouth half-pint Mason jars—and both would be adorable for guests. I love the Mason jars because you can see the gloriously orange and gooey filling through the side of the jar. The wide-mouth also gives you a nice amount of surface area to get a good golden brown crunch to the crisp topping.
Plus, they are cute. I’m sure some trendsetter list has determined that Mason jars are overused and cliche, but you’ll have to pry my Mason jars from my cold, dead fingers. They are my drinking glasses, my storage containers, my baking pans, my vases, my pen holders, my makeup brush holders, and, of course, my preserving vessels of choice.
I gotta get back to my canner (on today’s schedule: another batch of peach halves, a dehydrator full of grapes for raisins, and hopefully some corn frozen), but I had to drop off this recipe for you guys before I descended back into the fog of citric acid and pectin. Send reinforcements if you don’t hear from me in a few days.
- 1 small ripe peach, diced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a small bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients. Fill a half-pint Mason jar or an eight-ounce ramekin with the mixture, pressing down with clean hands or the back of a spoon to really pack it in and create juice. Set aside.
- To make the topping, in another small bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and stir until evenly moistened.
- Sprinkle the topping over the peaches, mounding up as high as possible.
- Place the jar or ramekin on a small baking sheet to collect juices, and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.