My husband grew up in the Mid West with a mother that could cook her butt off. Talk about lip smack-in feel good food. I would love to say that ALL her talents in the kitchen rubbed off on him, but then again maybe not because I would have a real problem with my weight. Vince and I have been together for 15 years. Over the years he has spent lots of time in the kitchen cooking up all sorts of tasty delights. None of which are remotely healthy! In all that time he has NEVER canned anything or assisted me when I was canning food to put up for the winter months.
A few weeks ago we were shopping at our local Farmer’s Market (which is a Saturday ritual for us) and he looks at me and he says”I want to can some peach preserves this weekend”. My response to him was “You mean you want me to can peach preserves this weekend”? He said “No I can do it myself”. And I said oh ok! Cool.
Canning was no where on my radar for this weekend, and in my head I found myself thinking ” Yeah right you are going to can, you do not have a clue what your doing. I decided in my head I was going to have to keep an eye on this situation to make sure we do not end up with food poisoning”. We bought a box of peaches and when we got home, he went to doing his research on the computer on how to make preserves. He found a recipe that he wanted to try, asked me to pull out all of the canning supplies and tools, and he would do the rest. “He said it would be OK if I was close by in case he had questions.
His first question: What’s the best way to go about getting the skin off the peaches? I told him I blanche my fruits so that the skin comes right off. His response” “What do you mean blanche”? Then I had to explain the extra pot of boiling water I had set up for him on the stove. This was followed by another set of questions like why do you do that instead of just cutting it off the peaches, how long do they stay in the pot? Why to you have to put them in cold water when you remove them form the pot? I looked at him and asked if he was following a recipe that had the canning instructions. He said it did not have all of those details. When I offered to help he said “no” he didn’t need my help. He just needed me to explain the process. After the the explanation he began blanching his peaches.
So for me as a cook, its all about being efficient in the kitchen and moving with a certain speed to make sure that what is being prepared is in optimal conditions. While Vince was blanching his peaches I felt like a caged animal. He was moving so slow all I could think was the peaches are going to start browning if he doesn’t speed it up! I went to the cabinet and pulled out the the Fruit Fresh, which is citric acid powder which helps to keep your fruit from browning. So then I asked. Are you sure you don’t want to use this and showed him the Fruit Fresh. He looked at me and asked me what he needed that for and that it was not in his recipe. I went on to explain the browning process that happens when fresh fruit is exposed to the air and he conceded and let me sprinkle some over the peaches.
With Vince still moving at a slow speed I decided to wonder over to the stove to turn on the pots I had filled for hot water for the jars, lids, and water bath. I know I was driving him crazy, it was all I could do to not jump in and take over. Every time he would ask me a question I would answer him as though he knew what he was doing. He finally said to me “Can you just take the time to explain it to me instead of trying to do it”? He then went on to say that he thought that he pulled a recipe in which the creator assumed the person doing the canning was experienced because half of what I was telling him do do was not in his instructions. He did not want me to TAKE OVER. He wanted me to COMMUNICATE. Being in the kitchen is second nature to me so I move about just doing, tasting, and not much talking. I took a deep frustrated breath and went through the stages that I go through when I am canning and why I do them the way that I do. As I was explaining he began cutting his peaches. Of course I had something to say lol. He was cutting huge chunks.
If I were doing the chopping the pieces would be much smaller. I’m kinda picky in the kitchen but hey this is not my project… In my mind tiny pieces of fruit spread nicely over your bread. Cutting them smaller also helps for better distribution in the jars. When the peaches were ready to be cooked with the other ingredients, I told him that is this was going to be a blog post we would need to make this recipe our own in order to post it and that we would need to make modifications because we always want to use our recipes on the blog. For a brief second he allowed me to do what I do. Create flavors in the kitchen. Adding a little of this and that to boost the flavor profiles that I enjoy.
When I was finished adding to and changing the recipe I was dismissed lol. Vince had been cooking the preserve mixture down and few minutes and said that it was ready. It could not have been 5 minutes! Surely it was not ready, but he was following his recipe. He proceeded to fill the jars. I kept thinking to myself that the preserves seemed awful soupy but I let him continue doing what he was doing
I showed him how to put the lids on and placed the jars in the basket for the hot bath. Once all of the jars were in the pot the recipe said to process for 5 minutes.. As the jars were processing I found myself thinking that there was no way that the preserve mixture was going to gel up, and that we were going to have some really nice peach SYRUP! When the jars were done processing he was so happy with his accomplishment!
The jars started popping right away. When they were cool enough to handle, he would pick them up and roll them around looking to see if they were setting.
Guess what! They never set up!! So we have some fantastic PEACH SYRUP. While he was a bit disappointed, I told him he could still eat it with his biscuits. He just has the added bonus of being able to pour it over pancakes, crepes, and ice cream.
Here were my take away thoughts on Vince’s first time canning experience.
I’m a doer and I have a tendency to jump in and want to take over.
I need more patience
Canning and making preserves are two different things! You need to know how to do both if you plan on putting up jars
Cooking is intuitive and you have to be able to improvise when you have to.
You should always evaluate the recipe in its entirety before you begin
Not all recipes provide full instructions so if you are a novice, look for better written instructions that don’t skip steps
After dinner I scooped some vanilla ice cream and poured this peachy delight and caramel all over it!
Vince is already planning to can again!
Keeping it fresh!
Homemade Peach Preserves
- September 4, 2020
- 6 Half Pints
- 735 Cals/Serving
- Print this
- • 3 pounds fresh peaches - 4 cups chopped (this was about 7 medium size peaches)
- • 1 package powdered pectin (approximately 1.75 ounces)
- • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- • 5 cups sugar
- • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- • 1 vanilla bean (scraped)
- • ½ cup Icewine
- • 2 tsp. unsalted butter
- Step 1
- If you are going to preserve the jam, prepare the jars and lids: place six half-pint jars on a rack in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the jars and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water. Meanwhile, put bands and lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium heat until the water is simmering, then remove the pan from heat and allow the bands and lids to rest in hot water until ready to use.
- Step 2
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut a shallow X into the bottom of each peach and drop them into the boiling water. Blanch for 20 to 30 seconds, then immediately plunge the peaches into the ice water. Peel and chop the peaches.
- Step 3
- Transfer the peaches to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the sugar, lemon juice, Icewine, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Add the pectin and return the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for one minute. Remove to pot from the heat and skim any foam from the surface with a metal spoon.
- Step 4
- Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Wipe rims of the jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight. Place jars on rack in pot and cover completely with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest in water for five minutes. Remove jars from pot and allow them to rest undisturbed on counter top for six hours or overnight.
- Step 5
- Preserved jam will keep for up to one year in a cool, dark place. Unpreserved jam will keep in the refrigerator for about six months.