Can Do

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An hour or so before my husband and I set up our kitchen for the annual peach canning-palooza, the house becomes a food preservation command center. We secure the deepest stock pots and Dutch ovens to hold boiling water and syrup;  we lug bags of firm ripe fruit into the kitchen sink, prepare the thin syrup, and start boiling and peeling the plump fruit. My husband loves it. I do not.  In fact, I’m decidedly un-peachy on canning days. I grouse about the mess; I groan about the heat; I nag about not making the fruit too sweet. It is me, rotten to the core.

My genial husband soldiers on and tunes me out.  He won’t get drawn into battle. He knows the peaches will wear me down—their fragrance as they simmer in the sugar-honey bath, their blushing crimson flesh, their neat, overlapping layers in the jars.  Thirty minutes after we start, I’m on board and fussing with each peach half as it slides into the jar. When it’s full I top it off with a bit of syrup, run a knife down the sides to release pockets of air, and then stand back to admire the final product before gently turning the lid closed.  It’s almost as good as tucking  your child  into  bed, all snug and warm and sweet smelling. The peaches have won. They’ve turned me to putty.

Today we canned outside beneath a red tarp to keep me from complaining about the ungodly mess inside the house.  A real operation, I must say. Notice my canning-loving husband in the background with golf clubs. When there’s a break in the action, hitting a few golf balls into the fields behind our home is always the perfect way to kill time.

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The grill’s side burners heated the boiling water we used to dunk the peaches before peeling and cooked the syrup and peaches before packing off to a warm water bath. My husband tweaked a few old and new syrup recipes because he likes a sugar-honey mix. He doubled the below recipe because we had three baskets to “put up,” as the saying goes.  He may tune me out before we start, but he does cooperate during syrup prep and always accommodates me with a light variety. It’s all personal preference, but the medium and heavy syrups seem way too sweet for me. Come January, I want to taste as much fresh peach flavor as I can get, and the light syrup mix fits the bill.

Light Canning Syrup

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup honey

5 1/4 cups water

  Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a light boil. Immerse peaches in the syrup and cook for five minutes. Pack in jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space, and then process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.

Note: Consult a reliable canning reference for other syrup recipes and for processing information to guarantee food safety guidelines.

                                                                                                                             peaches 035So proud. Sixteen quart jars for the pantry!!  I think I may have loved it.                                                   peaches 028

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3 thoughts on “Can Do

  1. It is so messy but after I can or make jam, I think the items look so pretty on my shelves. And, taste even better. I made red raspberry jam. A mess, but very good.

  2. hey Linda, can i get some ‘whine’ with my peach dessert? you know hat i always say…”nothing ventured, nothing ventured!” so what if it is a rather large pain in the arse when processing, you will receive your ‘tasty come-uppance’ this winter when you bust out a jar or 2 from your summer’s labors and pour some of your sweet treats over vanilla ice cream or over a big slab of angel food cake. what ever happened to ‘deferred gratification’, “Miss I -Want-Mine -NOW!” or ” Miss I Don’t -Wanna-Do- This? (sheesh…what a grouch!) hahaha hey girlie, why do you think i stand out in the woods freezing my butt off, waiting to put “the brown down” , so i can drag it 800 or more yards out of the woods and then home to process? so i can cry the blues? no,no, hunny, it is all for the satisfaction and happiness i get when i smell that sesame ginger teriyaki venison marinade caramelizing on my grill as i am sipping on beer and dreaming about the yummy indulgence that is soon to occur. because like “Uncle Ted” sez… “you can’t grill ’em, til you kill ’em !” so buck up and put your game face on, baybay…….cuz dem peaches is good any ol time! and nothing so wonderful can ever be achieved without a little effort , or teamwork! can ya dig it? so next time, make my ‘whine’ a cold, crisp auchlese….. to make your peaches worthwhile! 😉

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