Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taking the Plunge!

If there's a crafty bandwagon anywhere around, I'll jump on it! Lately I've been seeing many articles about canning and preserving, and I've been intrigued. I remember years ago my friend Lisa gave me a jar of preserves that a friend of hers had made. When I expressed delight and amazement, Lisa said, "Oh you would like her - she knits and makes furniture and makes her own preserves." This paragon of self-sufficiency has haunted me a little for years.

So yesterday I went to the Oreland Hardware Store and bought this:

Matthew went to the Glenside Farmers Market and bought these:

Now I shall attempt to combine the two into (insert heavenly choir here) homemade peach jam! In my mind, this is the equivalent of saying, "Well, I'll just go ahead and build a nuclear reactor here in my backyard."

Enlist a helper. Peeling peaches (after the hot/cold water dunk) is awesome slimy fun:

Unpeely goodness:

Then chopped up a bit:

I was cooking with gas up until this point, when I checked the recipe and it said to add SEVEN AND A HALF CUPS of sugar!!! Say what?! That is a veritable mountain of sugar! It was every molecule of sugar in my house. It seemed like an awful lot, but I at this point I am fanatically following the recipe to the letter, so we'll see:

Oof. That looks like a lot of sugar....

Anyway, dump the peaches and the SEVEN AND A HALF CUPS of sugar and some lemon juice into a pan and cook it on up:

I am blessedly skipping the steps (like #5-#25) where I juggled piping hot jars and lids and liners and ladles and got half of the jam on the counter/stove/floor/the cats/anything in a 20-foot radius. (Note to self: next purchase - wide mouth funnel). Here are the jars, filled with jam and safely sealed, boiling away in a water bath for 10 minutes:

Drumroll please! Here is the finished product:

Beautiful, ain't it?! I made 4 pints of peach jam. It took about 3 hours from start to finish. It was exhausting, both physically and mentally. I am all for improvising and not throwing a lot of money at a new hobby, but this is one enterprise in which you are rewarded exponentially for having the right equipment. I am definitely going to get that wide mouth funnel and try it again. We can't eat it for another 12 hours, but I will report back.


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