Garden Party: Part 1

When I first visited HollyBeth Anderson's home (of HollyBeth Organics) and saw her backyard, I texed our friend, Beth Lord (of the indie-pendent) and said we have to have a party here. We ultimately decided on a Garden Party, each inviting a few close friends who have helped us in our creative endeavors. It was our way to say thank you by smothering them with some goodness and prettiness...

Our plan was to utilize HollyBeth's beautiful yard (which backs up to 40 acres of green space, so she has many lovely birds and critters meandering about). We decided on each of us making something: HollyBeth-drop biscuits, Me- cucumber gazpacho and Beth- Georgia peach sorbet. 

Beth made the gorgeous invites with card stock she had on hand, some scraps of vintage floral fabric and a bit of twine. I love that girl...

We also purchased new fabric to create two sided napkins for the tables and takeaway gift...

For the gift for our guests, we enlisted Lyn Deardorff, our resident master canner for some advice. Together we decided on making Peach Butter. Lyn, "I prefer making butters from fruits because little or no sugar is required." Lyn cares deeply about the craft of canning and I was so happy to have her help us. (Sign up for her amazing canning workshops, here.) 

To make 5-6 half pint jars, you'll need 4 pounds of peaches (firm, at peak of ripeness & organic as you'll keep the skins on), plus organic sugar to taste.  

Prepare for water bath canning by filling your canner or large stockpot with mason jars and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and then let them sit at medium heat while preparing the peaches. Put flat lids in saucepan or heatproof bowl. Prepare peaches by washing. Cut into halves and remove pits. Do not remove the skins. Cut again and place in stockpot, then bring to a boil over high heat. 

Continue cooking over medium heat until the peaches are very soft in texture, about 20 minutes. Puree mixture using an immersion blender. Add sugar, if desired, to level of sweetness preferred (none is required, however).

Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently until mixture reaches soft ball stage. This can take from 20 minutes to a full hour, depending on your peaches. You can test when they're ready by placing a spoonful of the mixture on a plate. When cool, it should hold its shape, not run when the plate is tilted. 

Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids to sterilize. Remove your mason jars from the stockpot and place on a towel. Ladle the hot peach mixture into the hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Clean the rims and secure with lids and bands. Place jars back in large stockpot, making sure water covers them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes to process. Remove jars to folded towel and leave undisturbed for 13 hours.

Check lids for tight seal. Label them and make 'em pretty, then store in a cool, dark place. If unopened and sealed, your peach butters will last 6-12 months. Once opened and refrigerated, the butter will last for 3-4 weeks. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Garden Party tomorrow to see how it all turned out...


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach