If you're a new reader to my blog, I want to fill you in on something: Last summer Tim and I tried to garden, and failed miserably. You are welcome to go back and read all about it (the evidence is filed away under the Gardening tag), but even six months later, the disappointment lingers with me.
Even without our own garden, we were proactive during summer, stocking up on produce from the farmers market and local groceries. Now that summer's juicy tomatoes are not around, we have enjoyed the fresh, bright flavor of our homemade tomato sauce. In fact, we only have a single pint remaining. When I pulled it out of our deep freeze this morning, I looked at Tim and said, "Next summer we are going to make twice as much sauce." He whole-heartedly agreed.
I also undertook some ambitious (aka time consuming) canning projects including the Zesty Salsa recipe I saw demonstrated at the Ball Canning Luncheon that I attended in July at Local 127. It is the freshest salsa I've ever had from a jar.
In early August we got a great deal on bulk peaches at Jungle Jim's. Using several recipes from the Ball Blue Book we preserved nearly 15lbs of peaches, reserving the rest for a few desserts and afternoon snacks.
In our deep freeze we have peach pie filling and peaches packed with sugar. It's great to have a back-stock of sweet, juicy fruit when you have a husband with a serious sweet tooth.
In my opinion, the greatest thing we made from these peaches was Peach Butter. It has a thick, jammy texture and a slightly spiced peach flavor. On a slice of whole wheat toast it is a reminder of the hard work (and satisfaction) associated with preserving summer food. I nearly forgot we had canned peach butter until I was digging through a closet looking for something else and stumbled upon our quietly aging stash.
While I sit typing this with chilly fingertips and a warm dog across my lap, it's nice to have this reminder that summer will come--inevitably--and we're going to have a chance to redeem ourselves with a new garden and three times as many preserved food items for next winter. It's something I very much look forward to.