In the Farmhouse Kitchen of My Youth
Have you purchased your southern peaches from the road side stands yet? Eli, a friend of our's who works with my husband, sent to me a bag of Georgia peaches. I pulled one out, eyeballed it as if it was a gem, then breathed deeply its fragrance then took a bite. It was sweet and the juice ran down my chin. "Gosh, that is good," I told my husband," sucking the juice back up. "Far better than any store bought peach." And that is the story of all homegrown produce don't you agree?
I decided right then and there, to give back to our friend and make a pay-back pie and send him a slice the next day as a thank you. Once again, I find myself strolling down memory lane.
As I prepared my peaches for this pay-back pie, my memory wondered back to one day in particular of my childhood. Smiling, I recalled the day Mom brought a bushel of peaches in the kitchen and setting the basket on the kitchen floor, looked up and told my sister and I, "We are going to can these," which meant, I soon found out was a tedious and tenacious task. For some unusual reason though, I distinctly remember, but I don't know why, I really wanted to learn how to do this, instead of usually being outside on the farm with my animals enjoying nature.
On that warm day, in the farmhouse kitchen, without any air-conditioning, maybe a box fan, the temperature was probably 100 degrees, no kidding, as we prepared to process a bushel of peaches following the Ball Blue Book directions.
|This book has survived the time!|
By late afternoon, all our faces were flushed from the heat in the kitchen, my t-shirt was soaked from being at the sink washing jars, but we had a counter top full of Ball and Kerr, quart jars of beautiful, orange peaches. Whew. It took a long time, but in the end it was something to be proud of. And the best part of all, besides the team-work, is that all night long we heard the "pop, pop, pop" of the lids as they sealed and when we heard it, someone would call out, "There went another one!" The popping sound is very gratifying in deed. Truly, if you can- food, you know exactly what I am talking about. It is worth learning to can food, just to hear that sound. Seriously. I'm not kidding, either.
Today, as I followed the recipe taken from my Betty Crocker's Cookbook, I reflected back on this now cherished memory of canning peaches in the farmhouse kitchen of my youth. And that, to my recollection, was the beginning of my learning to process food.
I wondered today, as I scalded the peaches in my new pot, then quickly chilled them, making their skins practically fall off, Who in the world ever figured this one out? Did someone say one day, " Let's see how we can get around paring them with a knife and have their skins fall off." Don't know. Probably never will. Would be useless information anyway.
So here's he thing: Doing this little pay back pie, unexpectedly paid me back a hundred fold. I strolled down memory lane once again, returning to my roots and that made me happy and put a smile on my face. And when I shared a piece of pie with my husband, and tasted the fruit of my labor, that really made me happy.
I learned the edging by watching mom.
It is so you seal the edges and the filling doesn't run out she told me. And it looks pretty!
Now hurry on out and buy a peck of peaches and can them, freeze them or make a pie.