Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Please Excuse My Absence of Late... I'm In The Throes Of Making Peach Jam

I have to apologize for not visiting other blogs as much lately. We were in Austin all last week seeing our son who started school at St. Edwards University yesterday. Then, there is the yearly Canning Hell I subject myself to.

Every year during the summer I spend several weeks feverishly working to make enough hot sauce to give to everyone for Christmas. This year, ever since the ecoli scare, we have not had access to the three main ingredients; cilantro, tomatoes and jalapenos, all at once. Normally, I would be growing them all in my garden but the triple digits we suffered in May pretty much destroyed what I'd planted. I didn't replant because I thought I would just buy them at the market this year. Then, the big ecoli mystery surfaced and I've not been able to find all three together at the same time. Not. Once. All. Summer. It seems like the CDC have been claiming one ingredient or the other was the suspect. I don't think they have ever figured it out, so all we have is tomatoes still on the vine, sold in stores. No jalapenos. No Cilantro. Those three ingredients are staples here in Texas, so this whole ecoli scare has really hurt a lot of businesses and people. All this because the CDC tested like a million gazillion jalapenos and found one infected with the ecoli. But hey, I wouldn't have wanted to be the one that eats that one pepper.

Normally, I would be going to Austin during the last week of August to enter my hot sauce in the Austin Chronicle sponsored Hot Sauce Festival and competition. That won't be happening now. Traditionally, I have entered in both The Green and The Red categories.

Since I don't want to be bogged down with baking something during the holidays, I've decided to make peach jam this year. I was actually hit with the idea upon entering our local HEB, where the smell of fresh peaches envelops you upon entering the produce side of the store. Once I loaded my groceries into the car, it was a matter of mere blocks before I had to pull over on the side of the street so I could go to the back of the car and snatch one to eat on the way home. I always buy a little extra because this always seems to happen. Yes, they are that good. So far, I've gotten two cases (24) of pint jars canned and the jam is just perfect. So, I still have two more cases to go before I'm done.

I'm not a really big fan of jam of any kind, but there are so many other ways to use this delicious jammy nectar. When slightly heated in the microwave, it can be poured over vanilla ice cream. You can bump this up a bit by adding a splash or two of Grand Marnier or B & B. When making a fruit tart, it can be drizzled over the top. You get the idea.

I still need to get the third and fourth cases finished, which is why I've done little more than post on my blog as of late. When in the throes of peach jam making, I just don't have much time for anything else. You see, first I must par-boil an additional 16 pounds of fresh peaches. When that is done, I peel and pit them, then chop them up in the food processor. I then place all of the new jars in the dishwasher for washing, then place them in a stockpot full of clean boiling water for further sterilization. Once that part is completed, I can begin the making of the jam.

Each package of pectin makes approximately 3 quart jars of the jam and takes around 45 minutes to an hour, from start to finish. So, perhaps you can understand the consumption of my time. I've tried doubling the recipe, but have found that it doesn't work. Yes, just like they say on the package. It. Does. Not. Work. So, I must plod along at the single batch pace. Then, each pan and utensil needs to be washed before I can start the next batch. By now, I'm sure you're beginning to get the idea.

Canning anything is time consuming but well worth the effort. It seems that in today's disposable world, canning is quickly becoming a lost art. I am the only person I know In Real Life that still cans everything I can get my hands on. Hot sauce is what I've canned more than anything, but I still occasionally like to pickle okra and green beans (which are both great for Bloody Marys). I also usually make a really hot Green Tomato Chow-Chow, which will also be eliminated this year due to lack of ingredients.

So, dear bloggy friends, I've not been making comments nearly as often because I'm up to my ASS elbows in peaches and peach jam making. It's not that I don't like you or don't want to leave a comment. I just simply don't have the time until I get through this canning business. The business of canning for Christmas so that I can enjoy my holiday season, which will be upon me before I know it. So, don't write me off yet, please! I will be back... Then you'll be sorry!

Oh and I will get the entire peach jam making process and recipe posted on my cooking blog: Snooty Primadona's Guide To Cooking Like A Diva. However, that might take a few days for me to get posted, since things are a bit chaotic around here at the moment. I keep having to race back to the grocery store (which I detest) to get one thing and then another. No matter how all scientific I get, it still isn't an exact science. Did I mention I also flunked cooking in Home Economics class in high school? LOL! Yes, I did. Twice. Right alongside Sewing Class. The oddity of it all is that I am both an accomplished cook as well as a decent seamstress.


Flea said...

Oh yum!

I made a C in Home Ec. The teacher taught me to do everything nearly the opposite of the way my mom taught me - very frustrating. I just couldn't bring myself to change what worked for me. Still works.

Looks like peach jam definitely works for you. :)

Mental P Mama said...

Um, I hope I'm on your Christmas list;)

Anonymous said...

I aced home ec after the first D. My 7th grade home ec teacher didn't like the way my dad taught me to cook and actually sent a note home with me telling him so. Anal much?
I ached to do raspberry jam this year, but didn't have the time. I hadn't thought of making peach jam... (It looks awesome!)

Snooty Primadona said...

Last year I made hot sauce, chow-chow, peach jam and jalapeno jelly. The jalapeno jelly is perfect for putting on top of a small wheel of Brie, en croute, then bake.It's heavenly.

I actually thought I might make prickly pear cactus jelly this year but have yet to go get any.

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

Daily I become more in awe of your talents :o)

Krysta said...

i want to be your friend for christmas.

Krysta said...

and i never took home ec in high school. there was no way in heck that someone was going to tell me how to cook.

Holy Crappers said...

I'm not one for jams either. However they make great salad dressings when melted !!
Hurry Back !!!


scargosun said...

YeA!!!! I really need to learn how to do this. PLEASE get your recipe up ASAP! Do you do a lot of canning?

noble pig said...

Ummm, can be be christmas friends? He-he...I love jams and sorry about the jacked up ecoli! Who would have thought.

Snooty Daughter said...

Please hurry and send me some!!!!!!! This blog entry made my mouth water, my toast is so lonely without it's peach jam :(

Mz. Nesbit said...

Yum yum yum yum yum!
Do you want my address so you can send me some of that yum?

B. Roan said...

Because of reading this post, I'm heading off to the orchard the minute I'm off work! I love fresh peaches! So, those extra calories will be all your fault. I hope you feel just a little bit guilty. Looking forward to the recipe..mmmmm! BJ

Pleasing Procrasinator said...

LOL...Home EC grades really don't mean much seeing how I got A's and I try to cook as little as possible and cannot sew anything more than a button. And that button better not be too tricky.
I understand completely with being overwhelmed, I have been loaded down with homework and still trying to catch up with everyone.


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