Widgets Magazine

Sep 19, 2014

Guest Blog: Peaches Everywhere by Bossy

One of the best things about my job right now is that I have a foster child that is placed right next to Dad's favorite fruit stand.  Once a month I drive 30 minutes to Utah county to see this child and use my lunch break to stop and pick up fruit for my father.  Because of my schedule these visits normally fall on a Thursday.  Which means picking up a couple of cases of fruit to can over the weekend is perfect.  In August my visit fell on Dad's birthday which worked out well, and I conspired with mom to bring back some Lemon Elberta peaches for him, his favorite.  

So when Gym Rat's girlfriend wanted to learn how to can peaches I said I would be happy to pick some up while I was on my visit. For some reason we scheduled on a Monday instead of a Thursday, but it has been cooling off the past few weeks and we thought the peaches would be fine until Friday. Plus I had selected two under-ripe boxes. We certainly didn't have time to can this week. Hopefully Mom can fill you all in on our crazy week.
So I picked up the peaches as planned and we ran one box over to Mom's sweet visiting teacher and Dad munched on the other ripe boxful we bought just for eating. 

Then the week of chaos came.  Mom has been running so many different directions that Dog Walker decided to be super helpful and keep the laundry running. On Wednesday, I was considering canceling Webelos because I had been sick all week and complaining to Mom that it was 95 degrees and too hot for mid-September when Dad said, "you know those peaches are spoiling."  Sure enough all the laundry the Dog Walker had run and the heat had turned the garage into a sauna.  As I was settling in to pick my overgrown bean patch, Mom called with a canning emergency.  It was a good thing Fajita's Young Women's was moved to a special night and Gamer had already cancelled Webelos. 

We finished picking our 2 5 gallon buckets of beans and rushed over to help with the peaches. By the time we got there, Baby Doll, Scout, and Mom had nearly blanched all of them. I made the syrup and cleaned things up so we could get on with processing.  As Mom filled the jars she mourned the loss of an overripe peach. 

I grabbed another Tupperware that we always use for salsa! Mom continued filling the jars and the bowl of overripe peaches grew.  There was no way we could use that much peach salsa. Instead she decided we would make peach jam.  Truth be told I am not one for stone fruits. I will eat a ripe peach when we can to say I had one, but I really don't like them. I definitely don't like apricot jam either. but it had been a very long time since we had made peach jam and I have very fond memories of our peach and strawberry freezer jam.

So when Mom said we were making freezer jam with the overripe peaches, I was all in.  After making 16 flats of strawberry jam this Spring, Fajita and I were the resident experts so here it is. 

Freezer Jam

 **Note if making strawberry jam omit lemon juice.*
All our pictures show triple batches.  These wonderful Tupperware bowls make jamming so much faster. 

Step 1- Wash, stem, peel, and pit or otherwise prepare ripe fruit for mashing.  In a large bowl, mash the fruit to desired jam texture.

Step 2 - Measure 2 1/4 cups of crushed fruit into a clean bowl.  For peaches add 2 TBSP of lemon juice.

Step 3 - Measure 5 cups of sugar into another clean bowl. We do this because we are tripling the recipe and if you lose count on sugar it will ruin the jam. For a single batch you could probably measure directly into the bowl.

Step 4 - Stir sugar into fruit (and lemon juice). Mix until completely blended.  Allow sugar and fruit to stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5- While the fruit and sugar is resting, bring 3/4 C of water and one box of pectin to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the pectin.  **When making more than one batch, just getting the water to boil will take the 10 minutes of rest time or longer.  It is okay, it can wait longer than 10 minutes. But in a single batch you probably want to wait for 4-5 minutes before starting your pectin.Your sugar and fruit must sit so the pectin will allow the jam to set up. Sitting together, the fruit is releasing its natural pectin.

Step 6 -  Pour boiling pectin into fruit and sugar. Stir all together and continue stirring for three minutes.

Step 7 - Pour into containers or jars.  Allow to set up at room temperature before freezing. The box says to keep out for 24 hours.  We usually put the jars in the freezer as soon as the kitchen has been destickyfied. That can be a while with jam.  The best part of jam is tasting! Use a piece of bread as a spatula in your bowl to sample your delicious product.
I want to say the peach and strawberry jam from my childhood used 2 cups of peaches and 1 cup of strawberries.  We also made peach and pineapple.  This was because we didn't think people would like the plain peach jam.  To be honest it still isn't my favorite, but I have a lot of strawberry jam and I am not afraid of mixing things up.

We finished about 25 quarts of peaches and nine batches of jam.

It feels so good to remember how to "put up winter stores" for the season. 


Anonymous said...

Wow whee you are a busy Bee Bossy, you do a lot of good for Foster Children and you are kind and loving to your Grandfather and to your Mother and siblings. Oh, how I wish more people were like you, the juvenile facilities in this community would be free of many children as their moms and dads are missing in action and never parented their precious children..I read your Mom's blog daily she does a lot and your Father too to raise and love their family, their values of their faith shine thru in the blog oh, how I pray for others to be real Mom's and real Dad's to their children. You are wonderful, enjoy the peaches and the jams and enjoy your weekend with your family! God's continued blessings in your life and thank you for the tutorial on how to can and make the peaches and jams, etc..my mouth is watering and I live to put up fruit and beans and other veggies for the winter..ciao!

Anonymous said...

I meant to say I love to can and freeze fruits, veggies, etc. When the winter hits here it is over 200 days of inclement weather and to have food at the ready for when the weather turns horrible is a blessing, plus one can control the sugar and the salt etc..Have a relaxing weekend!


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