Friday, September 16, 2011
Field Trip! I chirped to coax Henry out of bed. He was delighted.
I called my mom and grandma to see if they'd like to join us. Happily, they agreed, though it took a little finagling to break my mom out of her routine. She was worried about the implications of the adventure (canning!) Don't worry, mom. We won't pick very many. I just want to have the experience.
We picked 77 pounds of peaches. I've spent several of the last 36 hours peeling and slicing those beautiful fruits, carefully arranging them on cookie sheets for flash freezing. My grandma's been doing the same thing in her kitchen. I like to call her to see how it's coming. We laugh about how messy it is and how we're going to be eating peach-everything for months. There's something about the the process of preservation that makes me feel kindred with the women in my family. Yesterday I felt especially homesick for my sisters in law, wishing they could be in my kitchen with me, stocking their own pantries and freezers. What a unifying way to bond, I thought. Lauren & Ashley: maybe some September you'll live here (or come visit) and we can pick fruit and spend a weekend up to our elbows in peach pits and tomato juice and sisterhood.
My mom and I are canning salsa tomorrow morning with our bumper crop of tomatoes. I made and froze six batches of roasted tomato marinara/pizza sauce last week with tomatoes and basil from my garden (easy recipe in last month's Country Living).
It is so satisfying to see my freezer full of colorful preserves. I have a big metal sign in my dining room that reminds me to "gather." I loved it originally because I want to gather people at my table. But fall is a gathering season, too. A time to harvest and pick and preserve and store. Lily took the picture below (she loves to sneak my devices and snap wild, blurry pictures). I loved this one though...
Speaking of gathering - I've been thinking of Fredrick (Leo Lionni) these past few days :) He is so darling and his way of gathering is so wise. I need to go stand out in the sunshine this weekend and gather up the warmth and light and colors and all the lingering essences of summer while they last, too.
P.S. Last night we went up to my mom's for peaches and ice cream and we warmed the peaches in this sauce (recipe below). It was so, so, sooooo good. It's supposed to be the filling for a peach cobbler, but we didn't make the cobbler topping, we just ate the warm peach sauce over vanilla ice cream and crowed about how good it was.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 tsp almond extract
4 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP butter
For filling, in a large saucepan combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add almond extract. Stir in peaches, lemon juice, and the 1 TBSP butter; heat through. Serve over ice cream or keep warm while you make the topping:
1 cup flour
2 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
For topping, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the 1/4 cup butter into the mixture until it resembles course crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine egg and milk; add all at once to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten. Turn hot filling into a greased 1.5 or 2 quart casserole dish. Immediately spoon on topping in 6 mounds. Bake at 400 for approximately 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
*also works well with raspberries and blackberries
Thank you all for the very kind comments you've left on recent posts. It is so nice to blog in the middle of so much love. xo