Fermented Cinnamon Peaches, Spicy, Easy, and Delicious!
My parents came to visit last weekend, and they brought us a huge box of peaches from their orchard! They were already starting to turn a bit---as in being quite ripe---so I had to act quickly. I was just not in the mood for canning jam, so I decided to try fermenting the peaches! I looked at a few recipes---and wouldn't you know, there is just not a whole lot of information about fermenting peaches that I could find. So, I generally looked at a variety of different recipes to inspire the recipe I will tell you about now.
Suffice to say....I have NO idea why I have not tried fermenting peaches (or other fruits for that matter) before now. I can't believe how delicious these turned out! Easy, Delicious, and practically FREE! Plus, the probiotics from the fermentation process have incredible health benefits.
How to Make Fermented Spiced Peach Sauce (also called Chutney of sorts)
**8 cups of peaches, skinned and cut into pieces (That's how much I decided to use---Use as much or as little as you want and adjust. I am not a big "measurer" so feel free to play around with amounts!
**1 1/2 cups of pecans, chopped (You don't need to use this much---I love nuts)
**Sugar---Most everything I have read about fermenting fruits and drinks (like kombucha, kefir, etc.) mentions adding sugar of some type. That's because the culture (specific bacteria/yeast) uses the sugar as food. Frankly, I felt these peaches were quite sweet enough, and since I don't like added sugar unless absolutely necessary, I decided to completely omit the sugar. I suppose you could use some honey if you wanted.
**2 tbsp Cinnamon (I probably added too much, so unless you REALLY love Cinnamon, cut back some. The fermenting process makes the spice tastes come out more strongly.)
**1 1/2 tbsp Vanilla Extract, more or less
**5 Allspice pods (optional)
**1 tbsp Nutmeg (also optional, but don't you love nutmeg and cinnamon in the Fall?)
**A Pinch of Cardamom---just a tiny pinch because Cardamom is very strong
**1 tsp Clove powder
**1/2 cup of Lemon Juice
**A starter of some type. Some people say you don't need it to ferment fruits and vegetables. I'll be honest---I ALWAYS use a starter culture because I feel it protects the food from molds, plus it speeds up the fermentation process. I decided to experiment with TWO different types:
1) Water Kefir---Water Kefir is essentially fermented sugar water. It's super good for you, and I thought I'd give it a try here. Here's where you can buy Water Kefir Grains.
2) Whey---See my article here to learn how to make Amazing Whey. I usually use Whey in all my ferments. I'll let you know the results of both later in the article.
You'll need about 3/4 cups of either starter.
**Mason Jars---I used quart size. This amount of peaches ended up filling 2 quart size jars and 1 pint size jar.
**A Pounding Tool
A note about the spices I use--- I used to go to the grocery store and buy the spices in the spice aisle....that is, until I learned how old and poor quality they are. I now purchase the majority of my spices from this quality online store. After I get them, I simply store in Mason Jars with an oxygen absorber. You get a lot more spice for a much much cheaper price and at a MUCH higher quality too.
Directions for Making Your Fermented Spiced Peaches:
First, mix the peach pieces with the spices and nuts.
Then, pound the mixture to release the juices. The more the juices release, the less water you may have to add, if any. I try to add as little water to my ferments as possible.
After this, I poured the mixture into Mason jars, leaving about two inches at the top to accommodate the lemon juice and the starter (kefir or whey). You could actually mix the lemon juice and the starter in with the pounded mixture too, then pour into Mason Jars. Either way is just fine.
Cover your Mason Jar with some type of airlock (see the green nipples) or a regular lid. If you use the nipples or other airlock, you won't have to "burp" your ferment. If you use a regular lid, you will have to "burp" your ferment by gently loosening the lid just a bit (you'll hear/feel the release of gas), then tightening that lid right back up.
Now, you just wait. Based on what I have read in various fermenting books, fruit ferments very quickly because of the sugars. Most recipes say to leave them only two days, then refrigerate. However, I left mine for four days. I like stronger ferments, number one. And number two, I love to see the bubbles really working it.
Now just bottle them up, refrigerate, and enjoy over a period of weeks. I have read that fruit ferments can last up to a month, but most of the literature I have read indicates to use within a week. Frankly, I feel fermenting preserves the food quite well, so I will be leaning more toward the month. But you can tell if it's not good. Use your instincts!
The Difference Between Water Kefir as a Starter and Whey
I am so very glad I did this experiment. What I found out is that water kefir is an excellent starter--at least for fruit like this. I'll be trying it on vegetables too, and I'll let you know how that goes. The water kefir ferment resulted in a slightly tangier ferment, which is very good. The whey did a great job as always!
A note about Water Kefir: Water Kefir is just one type of fermented drink and a nice additional way to add those probiotics to your system. I've been using it and experimenting with second ferments for several months, now. I'll have an article or two about kefir coming up soon!
Hugs & Self-Reliance!
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