This is how I spent my weekend. Result? Seven quarts and seven pints of canned peaches, six pints of apricots and 14 pints of apricot jam.
When I shared this accomplishment with my friend Kathy From Montana, she cried, “You’re working too hard!”
I didn’t get to explain that it wasn’t work at all.
Here’s the thing: I never thought I’d ever have the energy to can fruit or make jam again. I’d resigned myself to the fact that the fun, fruit-preserving part of my life was over.
And yes, my mother-in-law and I always thought it was fun. We got a lot of fruit preserved when she would visit us. We’d make glorious messes and end up with quarts and quarts of apple butter (her specialty).
Okay, so it took me two years to get my energy back after, ugh, cancer.
And when I visit the Peach Man’s tent on Thursday mornings I get a little drunk on all the possibilities stacked there in boxes and I buy too much and I giggle like a mad woman as I drive out of the parking lot.
The other ingredient–beside energy–is the addition of a “steamer canner”, recommended by one of my friends at water aerobics. This kitchen invention is right up there with the microwave and the immersion blender.
Instead of dealing with gallons of hot water and a heavy pan, you only fill the steamer with a few inches of water and let it steam the required amount of canning time after it reaches the spot on the dial that corresponds to your altitude. It happily boils while the jars are steamed.
The only fly in the ointment is obtaining canning jars and metal lids. It’s hit or miss at the grocery stores and I refuse to order the Chinese-made varieties.
Next up? Peach pie filling!