Post # 330 I Miss Summer

January 9, 2015 at 12:04 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

It’s not that I hate winter.  It has its purpose.  The trouble I have with this time of year is that there’s very little fresh from the garden.  I wrote so many times about our trips to our favorite farm market, stocking up on items that were picked that morning.  Fresh veggies picked on Saturday lasting until Wednesday before we’d used them all.  Now, we’re having to buy veggies from the store that were grown in hydroponics, picked before they were ripe, and sprayed with argon gas on the way to the supermarkets to get the “ripe” look.  They have no flavor.  So now we’re eating “fresh salad packs” by the dozens.  Frozen veggies are the norm.  And that’s what I dislike about winter.

I know that 200 years ago, the same kind of problems faced our ancestors.  But for them, it was a difference between starving and eating, not just flavor.  I’ve got a ton of pamphlets, little “recipe collections”, that explain how to preserve foods like they did then.  But you need a cow to start off with, and about a ton of salt, or a bonfire to last for days.  Things like that.  Then, as I was rooting through our pantry looking for peanut butter (for the dogs, not me) I found this:

peaches

Canned peaches we bought from our farm market on a whim to make something out of.   I’ve always thought it was a bit of a misnomer to call it canning when you’re using jars, but there you go.

Canning has been around for a long time, at least since the very early 1800s.  Basically, it’s a food preservation system where food is placed in the jar, processed with heat, and stored.  Most foods last 1-5 years, but recently some products have been made that last much much longer.  It’s a finicky process, but simple overall.  Once mastered, the biggest concern is where to store the jars.

It’s one of the best ways to store extra food.  You can put nearly anything in a jar.  You can put the ingredients for food in a jar like the peaches above.  I plan to make a cobbler, but more on that later.  You can also put the finished product in a jar, like salsa, jam, relish, stew, etc.  My mom once processed a beef roast in cubes.  When she opened the jar later, all she did was shred it, heat it, and eat it.

When you decide to can or jar food, you need to pick food that is ripe and has no blemishes.  Make sure there are no bad spots, no spoilage of any kind, and the fruit is food worthy.  The jars must be completely sterile, as well as the lids and the rings.  I’m not going to go into great detail about the process because there are whole books about the process covering over 200 years of experience.  Suffice to say that if you decide to investigate this method of preserving food, listen to the advice of 200+ years.  You don’t want to good on something like this.

But there are a billion ways to make things great in jars.  Pickles come to mind immediately.  I love pickles.  I used to make salad dressing out of dill pickle juice and ketchup.  I put dill pickle relish in my egg salad to give it zing.  Going back to the peaches, here’s what I’m going to make with them.

Peach Cobbler

Drain the peaches, reserving the juice for later use.  Do not rinse the peaches.  Spread the peaches in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Sprinkle chopped nuts of any kind throughout the peaches.  You can sprinkle lightly with sugar if the peaches are tart.  In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup toasted coconut, and 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats until well blended.  Spread evenly over the peaches.  Melt one full cup of butter and drizzle over topping using all the butter and making certain that all the topping gets some amount of butter.  Bake at 350 20-30 minutes.  This will create a candy-like crust over the top of the peaches.  Serve warm with ice cream, or cold with anything you like.

Enjoy

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3 Comments

  1. Oh! I remember summers sent at Grandmothers house canning and freezing fruits and veggies for the winter. After moving to Alaska, I continued doing so and got pretty good at making relishes and things that liven up middle of the winter dishes.

  2. I will make this cobbler and let you know how it goes

    • If you haven’t got peaches, it works with any fruit. Just don’t use pie filling. It gets too thick and icky.


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