6 hours ago
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'm very serious about peaches. My grandparents had a peach orchard when I was growing up, and summer meant boxes and boxes of the sweet, fuzzy fruit. I don't even consider buying peaches from a grocery store -- they're always underripe, hard and sour compared to those fresh out of the orchard.
Peaches are failsafe happiness medicine for me. They remind me of summers at my grandparents' farm, and of my wedding (my mom and I made tiny jars of jam for favors, and we served giant cobblers at the rehearsal dinner), and of family and friends.
Last summer, a few weeks after my husband left for Afghanistan, I went to my parents' for a weekend of peach preserving and pity, and was surprised by a visit from a close friend. We spent hours that Saturday slicing, mashing and boiling peaches, singing the "Jam Tomorrow" song from the exceedingly creepy live action Alice in Wonderland from the 80s, and eating so much of the foam skimmed from the boiling jam we almost went into blood sugar comas (even eating it straight off the countertop after a nasty spill).
I bought the first peaches of the summer a few weekends ago, and they were tiny, sweet and perfect. I need to get more soon so I can put them up -- I'm down to my last quart of frozen peaches and my last few jars of jam.
This typed recipe sheet is one my grandmother made and handed out to customers at their peach stand (thanks for digging up a copy, Aunt Karen!). The recipes are all family favorites, and you can't go wrong with them.
If you're interested in more canning and preserving, check out your local agriculture extension service and the National Center for Home Food Preservation from the University of Georgia. It's a marvelous resource and full of recipes and tips to help everyone from beginners to experts.