“Peach: [Darla taps madly on the tank glass trying to knock Peach off] Find a happy place! Find a happy place! Find a happy place!”
My most recent search and procure mission to the Haymarket resulted in 1/2 bushel of peaches. I didn’t grow up on a farm. I had no idea what that meant. I mean, I know what a bushel is; those weeks at St Luke’s summer camp, singing “Don’t hide it under a Bushel, NO! I’m gonna let it shine”…( I also remember all those days spent drawing crayon pictures of Jesus. My kids do not spend there summers there). So how come this little light of mine didn’t go off in time? I had no idea how HORRIBLY HEAVY 1/2 bushel of peaches would be to carry.
Then, I finally got it home and…what would I do with 1/2 bushel? I know, peach pie. No, they wanted cobbler. So fine, we’d make that. That wouldn’t put a dent into the 1/2 bushel, though.
Then, I realized that I’d promised to bring in breakfast on Sunday, so why not peach coffee cake? Well, again, that wouldn’t scratch the peachy surface.
I was kind of resisting the idea of peach jam. Let’s face it, if something doesn’t move fast enough around here I’m likely to try using it in a jam. I just finished making a whole bunch of apricot jam a few weeks ago from another successful mission. How many jars of orange colored jam can I
give away um, go through? Then I remembered where we started: pie. I’m pretty sure that after a double batch of cobbler, these pie fans are not ready. But come fall, and winter, those peach pies will be a big hit. So I decided to can up some pie filling. If you want to try making (and canning) pie filling, there is a nice,basic recipe here at “My little cottage in the making”. I did make some small changes: I saved the juice that collected with slicing the peaches and used it in place of some of the water, I did not use almond extract, I never use bottled lemon juice. I prefer fresh. Even if I’m just using it to can fruit. I also added a couple of allspice berries to the pot and a tiny grind of nutmeg.
Also, it says to heat up a huge pot of water, blanch them and let the peels slip off. Not this time. I’d heard about how you can save the peels, if you carve them with a knife so there’s a bit of peach flesh clinging, and make yourself a pie. With the peels. I’m not kidding. So, I thought, if you can do this, why not use them to make jelly? I’ve never seen peach jelly, but decided to do a search. Sure enough, Hanni, here at Sweet Bean Gardening had given it a try. Her recipe sounded like what I wanted. I think I followed it to the “T”, well except for a couple of small things. First, I wouldn’t bother turning on the stove for only 3 cups of jelly! I cooked all the juice that I had. Second, I also added the juice of one big lemon. I tried putting that lemon in the microwave for almost a minute before slicing- that juice just burst out of the lemon. I think it doubled the yield! So for the price of a lemon, some pectin and sugar, I wound up with a nice batch of beautiful peach jelly. You see the one that’s not quite full?
Yeah, that one there. It went into the fridge for an hour to cool down. We had an official tasting. The verdict: all thumbs up!
So, no thanks to Darla, my peaches have all found their happy place.