38 lbs of Peaches

marmalade, yum

It’s the end of August, the time of abundance and I’m exercising my cool new jam pan.  I bought the pan on eBay in February when I was craving Seville orange marmalade and realized that I did not, and had never had a proper jam pan.  The deal is that it should be broad and doesn’t have to be tall so that the liquids cook down quickly and the fruit doesn’t turn to mush and disappear.

The classic jam pan is very shallow and made of copper, but is only usable when the sugar is combined with the fruit and is not useable at all for anything with too much acid like pickles and chutneys, not to mention, the pan  is way too expensive for something that has such a specific and narrow use.  Lucky me, there is such a thing as a stainless steel jam pan from the UK and even with the pricey shipping it was still less than half the cost of a copper one and has a heavy bottom and a spout-like side for pouring.

I special-ordered Seville oranges through the Co-op last winter and felt that I ought to buy a goodly amount so I froze two bags of whole oranges to be made up later and now we need space in our tiny freezer ( and my first batch is all gone, eaten and given away),  so I made a batch of marmalade in my pan.

Then I decided to make bread and butter pickles with some of the mass quantities of summer squash coming out of the garden and all of this at the same time that my box of peaches arrived from the Co-op.

I blame Facebook.  If I wasn’t a friend of The Belfast Co-op I would never have seen their post reminding people to order peaches for canning or boxes of blueberries before it was too late.  38 pounds seemed like a lot (IT IS!!!!!) but I thought it would be fun to experiment with various forms of preserving and have lovely bits of golden summer to brighten up the dead of winter.  All for $22.  So much entertainment for such a small price.

Lucky for me the peaches are not all ripening at once.  At first most were too hard so I made peach muffins.  Yesterday I made a big peach pie with a version of an experimental pie crust using some coconut oil instead of all butter.  I’m still working on that.  This particular crust got away from me and was actually too short and sort of fell apart as I was covering the peaches but I called it my earthquake crust and must say it tastes pretty good.  Melts in the mouth.

Today I canned my first quarts of peaches.  I only did five to see how it would go.  I did cold pack but I think next I’ll try hot pack to see if I can get more peaches in the jars.  They all popped; so far, so good.  Then I started a batch of jam, another experiment, peach rosemary jam.  Five half pints just came out of the water bath at 10PM and they smell fantastic.  The jam pan is so much better than any pan I’ve used in the past.  The cook down is much reduced.  I love it.

I still have more than half of the original 38 pounds so I’m going to can some more quarts and make at least two, maybe three more batches of jam.  I don’t really eat a lot of jam but it’s fun to make.  I think I might try some flavoured with mint or sage, or a batch of each….. I’m not sure if I’m capable of doing just plain peach.  Oh! I mustn’t forget the jam with habaneros and orange rind……..

Maybe I should have bought two boxes……..nah.

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