Monday, September 18, 2017

We're Jammin' ...

My pear tree loaded with pears!  Time to make pear butter!
The busy season is upon us.  The start of the new school year heralds it in, reminding us that it's time to get down to business, and leave the lazy days of summer behind us.

September is the early warning system.  The days are getting cooler, and the nights are getting chilly.  We put away the things of summer, and take on the new tasks of the season.

September rings the school bell, reminding us all that we have much to do before the end of the year.  We're back to our routines after playing all summer, and the days are now starting to get shorter.  We acknowledge Labor Day, knowing that we have to get back to work, back to our own labors now, to prepare for the long, hard winter.

Well, perhaps nothing quite as dramatic as all that ... but that's how it was in the past.

Peach pie made from my own home-grown peaches!
Times aren't as hard as they used to be, back in the old days.  Most of us don't raise every bit of the food we eat.  We have grocery stores stocked with all kinds of fruits and vegetables available to us all winter long.  We no longer have to worry about making do, going without, and we no longer have to preserve every bit of produce to make sure none goes to waste.  (More's the pity!)

Long gone are the days when we had to can our own fruits and vegetables, or cure our own meats, to prepare for the cold, lean season.  Everything is available to us, even through deep winter snow, as long as we have a good set of tires.

Peaches and pears from my tree.
September brings in the harvest of the summer growing season.  Often it is such an abundant bounty, that we do wonder what to do with all the fruits and vegetables that have blessed us that year.  Some years, our fruit trees explode with growth, and we have more pears, peaches and apples than we know what to do with!

After we have baked all the pies, fruit breads, and muffins that we're going to for a while, and are still left with even more fruit or vegetables on our hands, we can either freeze or can them.

While I will typically freeze plenty so that they can be used in more versatile ways during the months to come, some years I do decide to do some canning.  I rarely indulge in jams and jellies, yet I can attest that there is something irresistibly delicious about a homemade batch of jam.  The fruit is fresh, the flavors are vibrant, and slathering it on a piece of buttered toast is about as satisfyingly close to heaven as you can get!  It is definitely worth the indulgence.

Fist-sized fruit
Making peach preserves, homemade applesauce, and pear butter is a joy that you must try at least once.  Try your hand at making strawberry jam, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, and various combinations such as peach-cranberry, tomato-strawberry, pear-lemon, and orange-berry.

Make your own special recipe of mango chutney, apple compote, or jar up some peeled tomatoes or a pot of green beans, etc.  Sometimes we even make our own pickles, or pickle other vegetables such as cauliflower or asparagus, or make big batches of spaghetti sauce to store away for a rainy day.

Peaches, all washed, peeled, sliced, and ready for preserving

One year, after a particularly impressive harvest, I canned up some sliced peaches and made pear butter, both of which were included as gifts in my Christmas gift baskets that year.  I am not even particularly fond of jams myself, yet I have to say that they turned out exquisitely!

I kept a couple of jars of each for myself, and I will admit that I was hoarding the pear butter.  It had such a seductively delicious flavor because of the cinnamon sticks it had cooked with, that I hated to part with a single jar.  Nevertheless, I did give some away.

A batch of peach preserves
If you haven't tried canning for yourself yet, I encourage you to do so.  You can get recipes readily online, or even included with whatever canning supplies you purchase.  Make sure your find one that suits your tastes (not too much sugar, or a touch of lemon peel, for example).  Not only do they make the most charming gifts with that special homemade touch that tells your friends how much they mean to you, but they are so delicious, as well.

There's nothing more satisfying than spreading a piece of buttered toast with some luscious homemade jam!  Every bite is an absolute masterpiece. Buen provecho!!


Enjoy previous fall seasonal blog posts:

Happy Labor Day
Ana's 1st Place prize-winning French Apple Pie, and her 2nd Place prize-winning Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie.
National Coffee Day
September 29th is the day to perk up! Have a Mocha Milk Punch from us.
Our Latest Obsession ...
Heirloom tomatoes ... the ugly ducklings that are really the beautiful swans of tomatoes.
Of Natural Disasters and Charity  A humbling reminder that nature is in charge, despite our best-laid plans.
Wine Poached Pears for Fall
Perfect for fall, perfect for dessert, perfect on a cheese board, perfect in a gallette!
Pear Tart, Part Deux
There's a time for rustic, and a time for elegant.
Fall Has Arrived
And we've got apples!
October Planning
Time to make lists ... menus, recipes, family reunions, Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, parties, special events, & carving time on the calendar.
Fall Recipes for the Season
Fall is the season for cooking ... time to collect some new recipes for the season!
Bucket List for Fall
Taking advantage of everything fall has to offer!
Back to the Farm
Fall is the time to head to the farm to pick pumpkins, visit the animals, go on a hayride, and sip hot cocoa by a bonfire.
Brandied Fruit
Time to put up your Brandied Fruit to marinate and mellow in time for the Holidays.
Spine-Chilling Reads
Some good, scary books to curl up with on fright-night!
Tea Superstitions
Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble
Halloween Traditions
From pumpkin carving to hot apple cider, family traditions make holidays memorable!
Happy Halloween 
Making the holiday fun.

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