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News » Cover Story

Savor the Season

Recipes to make the most of the fall harvest.

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Afterword chef Nick Zocco utilizes produce from Tupelo Farm as well as  other local sources. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Afterword chef Nick Zocco utilizes produce from Tupelo Farm as well as other local sources.

Preserving Summer
Where possible, Afterword restaurant by Tupelo Park City utilizes produce grown on chef/owner Matt Harris' property—known as Tupelo Farm—as well as that sourced from other local producers. Currently, Chris Pyper from Rustling Aspen Farm is overseeing the land and supplying produce like kale, chards and squash, kohlrabi and beets to the restaurant. Fall is the time of year when the restaurant really highlights local farms and dictates how the restaurant will run. Chef Nick Zocco says they like to highlight raw vegetables and turn produce into dishes with a seasonal aspect. The menu will change depending on what's coming in from the farms. Peaches are one of those seasonal items.

Peach Basil Preserves
"I love this recipe because it's so versatile," said Zocco. "When the peaches are blended into more of a spread, it can become a condiment for many applications, from classic breakfast toast spread to multiple types of breads, cheese and crackers, glazed proteins and added to BBQ sauces. When chunky, it can be a nice condiment for charcuterie boards."

Nick Zocco: Patience is key to creating peach basil preserves. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Nick Zocco: Patience is key to creating peach basil preserves.

Ingredients
3 pounds (1545 grams) of fresh yellow-fleshed peaches—about 12 medium-size, local preferred. They should be ripe (but not over ripe).
2 ¾ cups (650grams) organic cane sugar
1 lemon (juice only)
6-10 fresh basil leaves (chopped fine or torn)
Canning jars (about 6-8 half-pint jars)

Process
Wash peaches under warm water.

Heat a 6-quart stockpot with water to a simmer.

Cut an (X) with a sharp knife on the bottom of the peaches. Blanch peaches in simmering water for around 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, "shock" the peaches in cold water. This will allow easier peeling of the skin. Begin peeling.

Place peeled peaches in a separate bowl and cut them into chunks. Toss with the sugar and lemon juice.

Place the peach mix in a 6-quart heavy stockpot or enameled cast-iron (i.e., Le Creuset) pot.

Bring the peaches to a simmer, low boil for about 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and let sit for at least 8 hours or overnight, covering with a lid.

After time has passed, reheat the mixture to a low boil for a second time for another 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for an additional 30 minutes.

Using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, sterilize the jars for 1 minute on the steam setting using 1 cup of water and teaspoon vinegar.

Add the basil to the peaches and mix lightly with a wooden spoon. Or you can blend the mixture for a smooth consistency. Add the warm preserves to a warm (not cold) jar. Fill to at least ¼-inch from the top of the jar. Seal the jar.

Place the sealed jar in the pressure cooker. Use 3 cups of water in the cooker. Using the steam setting with the vent valve open, cook the jars for 25 minutes. Start your time when the float valve is closed at the top. Turn off the cooker after 25 minutes.

After the pressure cooker has cooled, remove the jars carefully and place on counter to cool naturally and listen for the lid to pop closed. If the lids don't pop, place in the refrigerator and enjoy sooner.

Notes:
This recipe is time-consuming, and patience is key. Preserving is long work and takes time. Follow steps closely.

You can find steam canning techniques on YouTube.

Allow time for the peaches to cool, which releases natural pectin and the setting of the sugars. This is why I let cool and then reheat; it creates a natural texture.

Pectin can be added but should be used wisely so that the mixture sets quickly but not too stiff.

Remember, preserving is not always going to be exactly the same each time. This will depend on moisture, sugar and ripeness of the fruit used. Adjustments may be needed, such as time. (By Aimee L. Cook)

Afterword by Tupelo Park City
98 S. Main St., Heber City
435-615-7700
afterwordrestaurant.com