I use each and every summer to grow a garden that helps me have enough food to eat fresh and preserve for the coming winter.
Since I don't have any fruit trees of my own, however, I have to buy some of it elsewhere.
When I made my yearly call in April to the small orchard where I get my extra produce (Lodi apples for applesauce and peaches) I was told with the crazy spring we had, and all the freezes we had late in the season there would be NO apples, pears, OR peaches for me this year.
It's a matter of fact.
I heard the same thing about the concord grapes I make grape juice with. I have my own vines, but we're just getting started, and I buy elsewhere to supplement all that I make.
What a blow. What a shock. Poor farmers who rely on this income yearly.
I felt slighted, and I had no reason to.
Each and everytime we heard the weatherman say there could be frost, Brent and I religiously went outside with the old sheets I keep for this very reason, and covered the strawberries and grapes. It was a pain in the butt!
We covered every night but one. Then we got a frost late in the morning, and it took all the grapes that I had started to get. Everything was gone, shriveled up, brown.
I was heartbroken. I was mad. Just one time we didn't cover...
Fortunately, my grapes came back...but the apples, peaches, and pears are not in abundance for anyone this year.
I did find some the other day at one of the farmer's stands that I have frequented in the past.
They are from South Carolina and they are called Big Smile. I tried them last year for the first time, and they were pretty much the same quality and taste as the Red Haven peaches I typically get in August.
Since I knew about the bad luck the farmers had this spring, I bought 1 bushel. I knew I had to put something in my freezer for the winter.
Aren't they beautiful!
The smell when you walk in the kitchen is intoxicating! And the peaches keep coming up missing. I think I have peach thieves in my house!
So, for the last couple of days (that's right...peaches can't all be ripe at the same time unfortunately!) I've been covered up to my elbows in peach juice, slicing and putting them in containers to freeze.
I have a secret recipe (that won't be secret any longer...) from one of my good friends. She gave it to me a couple years ago, and I swear by it. It's delicious, and when you pull the peaches out of the freezer in the middle of January, they taste completely fresh!
To get started, you'll need:
6 c water
4 c sugar
1 3oz. box peach jello (can be sugar free)
Warm this all together in a saucepot on the stove. You don't have to get it boiling, but everything needs to be dissolved. Then, you must let it cool completely!
Slice up your peaches and put them in whatever container your heart desires as long as it can be used in the freezer. Leave at least 1/2" headroom at the top. Pour your "peach juice" (above recipe) over the peaches, leaving 1/2" headroom. Put the lid on and pop in your freezer. They taste amazing. My son likes to eat them partially frozen, but I like mine thawed all the way.
We've been eating fresh lettuce, peas, zucchini (I also shred and freeze this) and soon cabbage, but the next I have to preserve is probably tomatoes and corn.
What are you enjoying eating right now?
P.P.S. Somehow I totally screwed up my old format of my blog, and now it looks like this with a wonky header not in the middle. If anyone knows how to help me fix this....PLEASE let me know!