I'll admit it. I get a smug satisfaction from making my own food products. Peanut butter. Yogurt. Granola. Bread. Some things make more sense to produce at home than others, especially if you can just buy a minimally processed version that tastes good. But generally if I have time to devote to a task and I can make the thing with a small number of ingredients, I enjoy the process. There are times when homemade just tastes better.
There's always question, in late June, of what to do with about six to eight pounds of peaches that are all ripe on the same day in our backyard. AND THESE ARE THE BEST PEACHES, Y'ALL. So I am not about to waste a-one of 'em. Now I can stretch them a teeny bit, and we eat our share of fresh ones, but anybody who has a fruit tree or two knows that there's really a small window where you're looking at usable fruit. Generally this means I make a boatload of peach jam. I'm not really one for canned peaches, either -- it's a consistency thing -- but these jam up nice and make good with peanut butter and toast and such. A few years ago I also started freezing the fruit sliced up for smoothies, too. That ain't bad.
Today was jam day. Or, more importantly, it was the first jam day of the summer, since strawberry will be on the heels of peach, followed by whatever fruit gets unloaded onto me by family members with too much _____ in their yards. The first day is always the most intensive, though, because it means climbing up in the attic to drag down the canning pot (is that what it's called?) and then rummaging around in the cupboards for all the right tools, and then rounding up all the jars and lids and bands... and then the washing and the sanitizing... and peaches are the WORST because you have to peel them (ICK, ICK, extra step) and then the actually remembering how the frick to do this so I don't accidentally let any bacteria in that might screw things up.
Jam is--and I am being serious here--probably the one area of my life where I am extra super special careful about measuring and timing and being exact. Because it actually does matter to me that I don't make tainted food products and/or hurt people. And jam is a labor-intensive process. You can't leave the kitchen. Everything is boiling. It's hot. And not like hawt. I mean it's sweaty and sticky and by the time you're done you're covered in peach jam, and not in a fun way.
But. I made two batches and I put another one in the freezer to make in the dead of winter when the only produce around is some sad looking oranges. Also making me feel smug: things in my freezer that I GREW IN MY YARD.
I also started peeling and freezing some peaches for God knows what (I still have plenty of peach halves from last year for smoothies). But my freezer will be full of delicious, delicious fruit. And I won't feel like I wasted any of it. I'm having kind of a "use the whole buffalo" day.
And because I'm nothing if not a good senior citizen, I finished that blanket this morning:
I love summer so much.