Thursday, July 16, 2009
Somehow, I thought 75 pounds of peaches would be manageable. There were five of us after all, crammed into a gallery kitchen while the rest of the families watched the Tour de France and ate pizza.
I didn't factor in the endless runs to the store for more ice, sugar, lemons, jars, whatever. I didn't factor in the time it would take for 50 pounds of chopped peaches to simmer themselves into jam without pectin.
That classic advice not to double canning recipes? I laughed in the face of expertise and timed the recipes by 10. No mere doubling here.
Holy 9 hours in the kitchen, Batman!
I did discover that I suck at the whole check-your-jam's-jelling-point-with-a-plate-in-the-freezer thing. You know how this jam has reached it's jelling point? It spits.
The simmering bubbles get slower and bigger, and when you stir the jam, scraping the spoon along the bottom of the pan, you see pan for a split second. The liquid doesn't rush back around the spoon like water--it slides back, thicker.
And then it hisses spits little bits of hot jam, angrily. I have a collection of little round burns on my hands to prove it.
The jam was ready. And awesome.
Also on the the agenda were pickles and canned peaches in ginger syrup (above). Next round? Tomatoes and tomato sauce and salsa.