Saturday, July 6, 2013

Canning, one of the joys of summer

Of all the joys of motherhood and being a wife, cooking and cleaning are my 2 least favorite. Not to say they don't get done, but they are the drudgery part of my life. They are a viscious circle. You must eat to survive. If you want to be frugal (and let's face it, most of us need to right now) you must cook at home. Cooking makes a messy kitchen. Not once a day, but at least 3 times (if you don't have monsterously hungry midgets, who are constantly biting at your heels begging to be fed)

Like you didn't feed them an hour ago. My kids are never NOT hungry. I have no idea how they survived a 100 years ago, because my kids need constant fuel. Sorry totally different rant, back to cooking and cleaning!

Then you must clean the mess from cooking. And eating. And drinking. No matter how many times, you declare " All food must stay at the table!" it falls on deaf ears, at least at my house, because I always find the remains of what was lunch, snack, dinner, etc.. crumbled across the floor, trailing to the door. Sigh..... I hate cleaning. Have I said that?

 One thing I don't mind cleaning and probably falls in the cooking category, is the mess from canning. I don't know why, but seeing, my food (especially food I grow at my house, in my garden) all sparkly and nice in rows of jars, brings me so much satisfaction.

It takes time. It is hot. But oh, be still my little heart. I always feel a glow when I look at the rows in my pantry (or currently my guest bedroom, aka the fabric store) ready to eat come the fall and winter, when all the prices skyrocket on our favorites, like peaches. Or when I go to make salsa or spaghetti sauce, which I make regularily, and the tomatoes are ones grown in my backyard.

This is a summer of plenty. I have canned tomatoes, peaches and my newest Double Berry Vanilla Peach Syrup.

So yummy on cheesecake, ice cream, waffles, pancakes. Served over cream cheese with crackers. Oh, I am sure there is more. I stumbled on this, quite by accident, several years ago. I was making peach jam and I didn't have enough peaches for all my jars. So not wanting to waste anything, I looked into my freezer and had a bag of frozen triple berries. I don't even know what kind of berries were in there, it was called frozen triple berries. I added it to my peach jam and it was a hit. My husband had a fit, if I shared it with anyone. It is his! Period. He is not normally like this, so I knew success was in the bag. I experimented from there. I found a recipe on for Vanilla Peach Syrup and adapted it to what I wanted. Here's my recipe for Double Berry Vanilla Peach Syrup.

5 cups peaches/berries (choose 2 of your favorites) Fresh is always better, but frozen works too!
2 Tbl lemon juice
1,5 cups of sugar

Puree all this in your blender or food processor
Simmer for 5 minutes
Add 2 Tbl vanilla

Pour in sterilized cans
Water bath for 20 minutes (just means put the cans in a large stock pot with water over the top of jars, boil for 20 minutes)

Take them out and let them cool ( I leave'em out for 24 hours and then make sure the lids are sealed)

Then lable and store!