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Blog

Filtering by Category: fruit

Blackberry Fools

Patricia Reitz

I found the most amazing blackberries at the market the other day - they were super sweet and delicious and I couldn't wait to use them to make Blackberry Fool, an incredibly simple, yet elegant dessert. 

In case you're wondering, fruit fool recipes first started appearing in the year 1598 - the word fool is thought to be derived from the french word "fouler" which means to press or mash.

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When choosing blackberries, pick ones that are completely black, and taste them to make sure they're sweet because they won't ripen after being picked. 

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To make blackberry puree, place ripe blackberries and lemon zest in a personal blender or small food processor.

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Blitz the berries until completely pulverized.  

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Then pass the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  A silicone scraper is pretty helpful here.

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Blackberries contain a LOT of seeds so you definitely want to remove them (discard them or feed them to the chickens). 

Mmmm.... smooth, seedless blackberry puree.

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To make blackberry fool, fold together 1 part blackberry puree and 4 parts sweetened whipped cream (recipe below).

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You can leave the mixture a little streaky if you like - I think the streaks look kind of cool.

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Or if you're a bit compulsive and you can't help but continue to fold the two components together until they're completely mixed, go for it.  You do you.

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Spoon or pipe the mixture into dessert cups.  The dessert cups I chose (these) have very small openings so I filled them using a pastry bag to keep the cups neat and clean.  

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To complete the presentation, pipe some leftover whipped cream on top using a large closed star tip (like this one) and garnished with a mint leaf.  Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Blackberry Fool

Makes 6-8 mini desserts (3-ounce)

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce ripe blackberries (or other berries)

  • zest from 1/2 lemon

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Make berry puree by blitzing berries with lemon zest in a personal blender or small food processor; strain seeds and discard.

  2. In a small mixing bowl, whip heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla using a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form.

  3. In another small mixing bowl, fold together 6 tablespoons strained blackberry puree and 1 1/2 cups of sweetened whipped cream until combined (a few streaks remaining look lovely).

  4. To neatly fill dessert cups, transfer berry and cream mixture to a piping bag and carefully fill six 3-ounce mini dessert cups (eight dessert cups if you don't fill them as full).

  5. Place remaining whipped cream in another piping bag filled with a closed star tip and top each dessert.

  6. Garnish with a mint leaf and/or a drizzle of the remaining blackberry puree.

Note:  the blackberries can be substituted with other seasonal berries.

Sour Cherry Pie

Patricia Reitz

Sour cherries may not be good eating out hand, but they make the BEST cherry pies!  Their season of availability is very short, only appearing at the market for a week or two each spring, so I pit and flash freeze them (here's how) so I can enjoy that fresh springtime flavor any time of year. 

And hey, if you have a batch of super flaky all-butter crust in the freezer too, you could whip a pie up in no time.  Seriously, can you imagine how happy you'd be to enjoy gorgeous pie on a cold winter day?  Your birthday?  Valentine's day? 

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This pie is a cinch to make.  Just line a pie plate with a bottom crust.....

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Stir together the pie filling and pour it in, top with a lattice crust, and bake. Use a cute little cherry crust cutter to decorate your pie, if you like.  I like! 

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Make someone's day.  Make pie! 

Items used to make this recipe:


Sour Cherry Pie

makes one pie

Ingredients

  • double crust recipe (here)

  • 2 pounds sour cherries, stemmed and pitted (fresh or frozen)

  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • juice and zest of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • optional egg wash and turbinado sugar for the crust

Directions

  1. Roll bottom crust and place in glass or ceramic pie plate.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cherries, tapioca, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt; pour into prepared pie plate.

  3. Roll top crust and cut into 1/2-inch thick strips, place on pie filling, weaving to form a lattice crust (as shown); trim excess crust from pie plate.

  4. Place pie plate on half sheet pan and brush top crust with beaten egg wash (whole egg and 1 tablespoon of water) or cream; sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

  5. Bake pie for 60-75 minutes, or until the filling bubbles; cover edges of pie with foil if it starts to get too brown.

Blueberry Crostata for Two

Patricia Reitz

Sometimes I'm in the mood for pie, but if there aren't enough family members around to consume said pie, and rather than have an entire pie calling my name at all hours of the night, I opt to make a tiny, rustic, free-form pie known as a crostata (if you want to be Italian) or a galette (if you want to be French).

Start by rolling out your favorite pie crust recipe.  A single pie crust recipe is enough to make two of these crostatas. 

Check out my Super Flaky All-Butter Pie Crust tutorial HERE if you want to make the flakiest pie crust ever and you don't mind getting your hands dirty.

Check out my All-Butter Pie Crust tutorial HERE if you prefer the ease and speed of making your pie crust using a food processor.

For the recipe we're making today, you'll need a 10-inch circle of pie dough.  You can keep it rustic if you like, or you can cut it into a perfect circle if that's how you roll.

Place the 10-inch circle of dough on a quarter sheet pan that is lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.  Despite the photo above, and the fact that I think silicone baking mats produce the best results 99% of the time, I actually prefer parchment paper for this recipe.  Using parchment allows the bottom crust to bake up a bit more crispy.

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Back to the recipe - you'll need blueberries, fresh or frozen.

And some lemon zest.  

Here's a tip - next time you squeeze fresh lemon juice, pop the used lemon halves into the freezer.  You'll always have lemon zest on hand.

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Just grab one of your frozen lemon shells and grate it using a microplane grater.

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Lemons and blueberries are best friends.

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Add sugar, finely ground tapioca starch, and just a pinch of fine salt. 

Note:  If you only have pearl tapioca starch in your pantry, you can pulse it in a spice grinder.

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Stir the blueberries, lemon zest, sugar, tapioca, and salt together well.

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Place the berry mixture in the center of the pie crust.

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Dot the filling with butter and fold up the edges of the crust as shown.  Pop the whole thing in the fridge and chill well for 2 hours before baking.  

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Just before baking, brush the crostata with milk, cream, beaten egg, egg white, or any combination thereof.

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This step is optional, but I like to follow the egg wash with a sprinkling of either sanding sugar or turbinado sugar.  

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See how pretty?  I can't wait!

Items needed to make this recipe:


Blueberry Crostata for Two

makes one 6-inch crostata (2 servings)

Ingredients

  • single pie crust (recipe and how-to photos here)

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, finely ground

  • 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar (depending on how sweet the berries are)

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • pinch of fine salt

  • 1 teaspoon butter, cut into small bits

  • optional: beaten egg, milk, or cream to brush over crostata

  • optional: turbinado or sanding sugar to sprinkle over crostata

Directions

  1. Roll enough pie crust to make a 9-inch round; place on a silpat-lined quarter sheet pan and chill until needed (wrap remaining crust well and freeze for use later).

  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, tapioca, and lemon zest; stir well to combine.

  3. Place the berry mixture in the center of the crust; spreading it in an even layer that measures 6 inches wide.

  4. Pull the remaining crust over the top of the blueberries, overlapping as shown in the photos; chill for 1 to 2 hours before baking.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400F.

  6. Just before baking, dot the berries with the butter, brush the crust with beaten egg, milk, or cream, and sprinkle with turbinado or sanding sugar.

  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly.

  8. Remove crostata from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

Lavender Lemonade

Patricia Reitz

Who loves lavender?  Not only does it smell wonderful - it tastes great too, but it's very strong so you have to be careful not to use too much.  Here, dried lavender buds are gently steeped in hot water to make a tea which is then combined with water and freshly squeezed lemon juice to make this refreshing lavender lemonade.

how to make lavender lemonade - recipe and how-to photos

The ingredients needed are pretty simple, fresh lemons, water, sugar, and dried lavender.  If you grow your own lavender, you can dried the buds yourself, otherwise they're pretty easy to find online (this is what I purchased).

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Gorgeous lemons!!!

Lavender lemonade recipe

We need a lot of freshly squeezed lemon juice (don't even think about using the stuff in a bottle!).  You can squeeze the juice by hand (this is my favorite style for manual squeezing), but for large jobs, I love using my electric juicer.  Sadly, this one is no longer made, but there are plenty of similar models available online (here).

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Over high heat, combine some of the water with the sugar. 

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Stir the sugar until it dissolves.

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Bring the mixture to a boil.

recipe for lavender lemonade - how-to photos and recipe

Turn off the heat and add the dried lavender flowers; steep for 10 minutes.

How long to steep lavender to make lemonade - recipe and how-to photos.

After 10 minutes, strain the lavender out and discard.  Add the remaining water and freshly squeezed lemon juice and serve over ice.

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Oh, and here's a tip - store the empty lemon halves in the freezer.  Whenever you need lemon zest, grab a frozen half and run it over a microplane grater.  You'll never be without lemon zest again! 

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Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Lavender Lemonade

makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water, divided

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)

  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • optional: a drop or two of blue or purple food coloring

  • garnish: lemon slices and fresh lavender petals

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

  2. Remove from heat and stir in dried lavender; steep for 10 minutes.

  3. Strain lavender from mixture and discard.

  4. Place lavender-infused water in large pitcher; add remaining water, lemon juice, optional food coloring and stir well.

  5. Serve over ice.

Coconut Almond Granola

Patricia Reitz

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I love cooking big meals when we have company, but after a few days (and many, many dirty dishes), I need a break so it's nice to  have a big batch of granola in the pantry.  This one features dried cherries and sliced almonds, but you can easily switch up the fruit and nuts.  It keeps well too so feel free to make it far in advance.

In a large mixing bowl, combine with oats, almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds.  You can add the dried fruit now if it's plump - otherwise, hold off until a bit later.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pure maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and salt. 

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Pour the maple syrup mixture over the oat mixture and stir well.

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Stir until all the dry ingredients are coated.

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Pour the mixture into a large roasting pan and bake in a preheated 250F oven.

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Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in the dried fruit if you haven't already.  Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for up to a month.

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Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Coconut Almond Granola

makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

  • 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds

  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut

  • 1/3 cup shelled sunflower seeds

  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup neutrally flavored oil (canola, safflower, grapeseed, etc)

  • 2 tablespoons warm water

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 cup raisins, craisins, dried cherries, or other dried fruit (make sure they taste good)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250F and spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds; set aside. Note: if your dried fruit is very plump, you can add it now, otherwise wait until step 5.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, dark brown sugar, oil, water, vanilla, and salt; pour over oat mixture and stir well until completely coated.

  4. Pour mix into prepared baking dish and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

  5. Remove from oven; stir in the raisins and allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for up to a month. Recipe may be doubled.

Best Way to Open a Pomegranate

Patricia Reitz

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A number of years ago I shared a technique for opening pomegranate, but since then I've discovered an even better way.  Let me show you how it's done.

Naturally there are a couple of mandatory things needed - a fresh pomegranate and a small sharp knife (I have two of these trimming knives - they're the perfect tool for the job).

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Not mandatory, but highly recommended - disposable gloves will keep your hands free from stains.  You may not need them if you're only tackling one pomegranate, but I often purchase them by the case so yeah.

the best way to open an pomegranate

Ok, the very first thing we need to do is score around the top of the pomegranate right about where I drew that blue line in the photo.  Don't cut into the pomegranate deep enough to poke any of the juicy arils inside (arils are the seeds).  

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See how my knife is barely cutting into the husk or rind of the fruit?

official way to open a pomegranate.  opening a pomegranate.

When you've made your way around the whole thing, put the knife down and use your fingers to pull most of that "cap" away.  It will probably break into several pieces - no worries.  

how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate

The very center part of that cap is anchored in there good so just leave it alone for now.  If you look carefully, you'll be able to see a thick, white fleshy substance directly under the husk and between the sections of arils.  That thick layer is called the albedo.  The number of aril-filled sections varies between 4 and 6 and once you remove the cap, you'll be able to see how many pockets of arils your pomegranate has.  My pomegranate has 6, which you can see the blue arrows pointing to in the photo above.  Using shallow cuts again, score the husk all the way down the fruit, right where those divisions are.

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Once you do that, you can very gently pry the divisions apart.  The whole thing will open up like a flower.  How cool is that?  

Ok, now we can take care of the center of that cap.

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Reach in and gently pry that cap out - it's attached to a thin white membrane that separates the arils in the individual sections.  

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I'm always amazed how easily it pulls out once the individual sections are opened.

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Ta-Da!!  Alrighty now, there's still a bit of work left to be done - just break off the individual sections and gently nudge the arils away from the membrane.  I do this over a very large bowl to catch the arils and container the occasional squirt of juice.  

I forgot to mention this earlier, but I suggest wearing an old shirt that you don't mind getting stained.  As careful as you may try to be, you'll occasionally squish an aril and the juice will squirt you.  

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The labors of my hands ;)

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Did I mention that this can be a messy job?  

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Once you've freed the arils, you might find a few stay bits of membrane mixed in here and there.  You can drive yourself mad trying to pick them all out, or you can do it the easy way and cover the arils with water.  The bits of membrane will float and you can skim them away.  

Arils can be refrigerated for up to a week.  They can also be frozen - place in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze for 2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container for up to a year.  

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You can press the juice from the arils if you like, but the entire aril is edible so feel free to sprinkle them over salads, float them in Pomegranate Fizz Mocktails, make Pomegranate Syrup to drizzle over vanilla ice cream, or bake delicious Pomegranate Ginger Muffins

Other recipes using pomegranates:

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Patricia Reitz

You are only 3 ingredients away from freshly squeezed lemonade - one of life's simple pleasures.  

Start by combining water and sugar in a saucepan.

Heat gently and stir to dissolve sugar.

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When the water changes from cloudy to clear, the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat.

Cut a bunch of fresh lemons (I used 10).  

Here's a tip:  cold lemons don't like to give up all their juice so make sure your lemons are room temperature or slightly war before juicing.  You can warm them by covering with warm water or pop each one in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until warm.  Rolling the lemons on the counter using moderate pressure before squeezing helps as well.   

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Time to juice those lemons - an electric lemon juicer makes very quick work of it.  This kind of handheld juicer also works well.  

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Pour the remaining water, lemon juice, and sugar/water mixture into a large pitcher and mix well to combine.  Serve over ice.  

Items used to make this recipe:


Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water, divided

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

  2. Pour remaining 6 cups of water into a large pitcher; add sugar water and lemon juice, stirring well to combine.

  3. Serve over ice.

Freezing Peaches

Patricia Reitz

Freezing Peaches - ButterYum

Freezing Peaches - ButterYum

I absolutely love when fresh peach season arrives.  Peaches make an appearance in my morning smoothies so here is the easiest and most simple technique I've found to preserve these sweet summer fruits.  

how to freeze peaches for smoothies - ButterYum

Start with clean, ripe peaches.  I find the less the peaches are handled, the nicer they look so I don't peel them, but you certainly can if you like (my favorite technique for peeling peaches can be found here).   

You'll need some freshly squeezed lemon juice to make an acidulated water dip that will help preserve the peaches color. 

The acidulated water is made of 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice and 4 parts water. 

Simply cut the peaches into wedges and dunk the in the acidulated water. 

Then place the peach slices on a silpat lined sheet pan and pop them in the freezer for several hours until firm.

After the peaches have frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe container for long term storage.

If you plan to use the peaches within a month or so, you can use a standard zipper storage bag.  For longer storage, use a vacuum sealer (here's the one I have).

how to make pureed peaches for smoothies - ButterYum

An even quicker peach preparation to use in smoothies is to place the slices (not frozen) in a heavy duty blender and give them a blitz.  Then portion individual amounts into small freezer bags.  As you can see, the color has darkened a bit, but that's fine with me since the puree is going into this smoothie recipe.  

Note:  Freshly squeezed lemon juice can be added to help preserve the color, but that would change the overall flavor of the peaches so I opted to not do that.  

Items used in this technique:


Freezing Peaches

makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe peaches, washed and dried

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 cups cold water

Directions

  1. Peel peaches if desired.

  2. Cut peaches in half and remove pit; cut peach halves into 8 wedges.

  3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and water; dip peach slices into water and place in a single layer on a silpat lined half sheet pan.

  4. Freeze for several hours or overnight; transfer to freezer-safe container for long-term storage.

Fresh Peach Sauce

Patricia Reitz

Peach season has finally arrived in Virginia and we've been enjoying them in so many ways. Today I made a quick peach sauce to serve with my Vanilla Dutch Baby (click here for step-by-step photos and recipe).  Mmmm, it was so good.  The sauce cooks in less than 2 minutes - everybody has 2 minutes, right?  Great on ice cream or pancakes too.

what to do with fresh peaches, make peach topping - ButterYum

Start by slicing or dicing one ripe peach with a really sharp paring knife.  The peaches I had in my kitchen today were white peaches so I left skin on for color, but you can certainly peel your peach if you want to.  Place the peach in a good quality, heavy-bottom pan.

recipe for peach sauce, ice cream, pancakes, peach syrup, recipe and photos.

Add sugar, cornstarch, water, cinnamon, and salt (amounts listed in the recipe below).

how to make a sauce using fresh peaches - ButterYum

Stirring constantly, heat the mixture until it boils; boil for one full minute.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (use the good stuff).  You can leave the almond extract out if you don't care for it, but I love it and think the two flavors go very well together.

how to make fresh peach sauce - ButterYum

That's it - it's ready to eat.  Wish you could taste it, but you're not here so I guess you'll have to make some for yourself.  Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Fresh Peach Sauce

makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium ripe peach (5-6ounce weight)

  • 6 tablespoons water

  • 1 -2 tablespoons granulated sugar (depends on how sweet the peaches are)

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions

  1. Cut peach into slices or dice it into small pieces (I cut mine into 16 wedges); place in heavy-bottom saucepan.

  2. Add water, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon.

  3. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil and continue to boil for 1 full minute before removing from heat.

  4. Stir in pure almond extract. Serve.

Freezing Cherries

Patricia Reitz

Freezing Fresh Cherries - ButterYum.  now to freeze cherries.  how to freeze fresh cherries.  how to freeze bing cherrie.  how to freeze sweet cherries.

Fresh cherries are in season and I thought I'd show you how easy it is to freeze them for future use.  This technique works for sweet or tart cherries.  

how to freeze fresh cherries - ButterYum

Start with clean cherries.  Remove all stems and pits.  I like to use this nifty cherry pitter - it's kind of fun.... and as you can see, a little messy too.  Totally worth it though.

Place the pitted cherries in a single layer on a sheet pan and pop them in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.  I've lined my pan with plastic wrap to keep the cherries from sticking and for easy cleanup.  Parchment paper would work too. 

If you have a side-by-side freezer, a quarter sheet pan should fit.

how to pit and freeze sweet or tart cherries - ButterYum

Here's how my cherries looked after they were frozen overnight.

prepping fresh cherries for storage in the freezer - ButterYum

Transfer the frozen cherries in a freezer-grade storage bag and place in freezer.  That's all there is to it.


Items used: