I recently got a fabulous deal on two bags of peach “seconds” at the farmer’s market for only five bucks. Sure some of them were a little dented or bruised, but i knew there was still plenty of good fruit there to make a great batch or two of jam with. As I detailed in previous posts, I am trying to make my jams sugar-free for the most part, using only fruit juice and sometimes a little honey or maple syrup to sweeten my preserves. To that affect, my plan was to do the same process that I used for making sugar free strawberry jam, and make a batch of peach puree first, in order to get the required peach juice to make the peach jam.
But after I cut away the bruised portions of my pieces and proceeded to remove and dice up the healthier peach flesh, I was left with this:
And as you know, I dont like just throwing stuff out. So i thought, “is there anything I can do with this?”
And eureka, it came to me! Sure the bruised flesh is not nice for eating or for making jam, but unless its black or moldy, why couldn’t I steep it in a little water and make a juice? Also, when you add up all the peach flesh still clinging to those pits, you could have enough to make a nice little puree, and at least a cup of juice.
Rather proud of myself, I picked through the heap and removed anything that looked truly scuzzy (you definitely do NOT want anything mold, fungus, other living creatures, etc, in it. And if its so rotten its black, then forget it! Also, if your pit comes apart in your hand that is a good indication it is not healthy enough to use for this method- throw it out.), put the good stuff in a pot, covered it with a little water and a dash of apple cider vinegar (I always use vinegar when making broth as it helps draw the flavor out so I figured it couldnt hurt here), and put ‘er on the stove to boil.
After the pot came to a rolling boil, I put it down to a simmer and let it simmer away for a good hour. It made the house smell fantastic. Once the hour was up and I could tell the liquid was looking pretty peachy, I drained the pot, through a fine-mesh seive, into a bowl.
Now is the important part, where you work just a little but more to get the good stuff. You want to carefully remove the pits from the sieve (the flesh should have totally fallen off them by now), and you should be left with just peach flesh. At this point, use the back of a small metal spoon to push the fruit against the strainer and extract more of the juice into the bowl. Also, be sure to tilt the sieve a little and you’ll notice lots of yummy thick pulp along the underside- be sure to scrape that into the bowl as well. You don’t want to waste a drop!
Doing this gave me exactly two cups of peach “juice”, which in turn allowed me to make two batch of peach jam (recipes to come soon) out of my 5 dollar bag of seconds. Not too bad! You could easily do this with other bruised fruit flesh, especially from heartier fruits like peaches, pears, plums, and apples. Berries probably wouldn’t work as well as their water content is so high that when they bruise they basically mush, but use this technique whenever you can in the spirit of Using the Whole Buffalo!