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Preserving Party

Canning food can be a lot of work that goes much more easily when divided between many hands. After our massive tomato sauce session (two bushels worth) at the cottage last year this isn’t a new idea to me. This year was the first time, though, I’d gotten together with friends for a preserving party.

These sinks are ideal for shocking the skins off peaches.

These sinks are ideal for shocking the skins off peaches.

We were lucky that one of the group teaches at a small private school north of the city, King’s College School, that generously donated the use of their kitchen for our purposes. Working in what amounted to a small commercial kitchen, with ten full-power gas burners and a huge amount of counter space really helped.

The spicy tomato condiment.

The spicy tomato condiment.

Another friend wanted to try making her mother-in-law’s Spicy Tomato Condiment–that shall not be called ketchup no matter how it looks and tastes. This was a fairly intense proposition that was entertaining (and delicious) in its own right but also raised an interesting point that I encountered again later that day. It seems that some old-time preserving recipes use the word “spicy” to mean “prominently features the flavours of a variety of (exotic) spices” and not “has a degree of heat due to capsaicin”.

I saw this again at my friend Darryl’s place with his excellent Spicy Carrot Marmalade. I suspect this phenomenon is particular to places like Ontario where garlic and hot peppers were ingredient non grata relatively late into the twentieth century. Has anyone else encountered this? What other examples are their of similar preserve names?

Peeling under-ripe peaches is not very much fun.

Peeling under-ripe peaches is not very much fun.

As well as the tomato condiment we turned fifty-six pounds of peaches into twelve quarts, and twenty pints of peaches in very light syrup (following the USDA recipe available here from Guide 2 in their Home Canning series) and 4 pints, and twelve half-pints of peach bourbon jam. Thanks to @ikapai for sharing the jam recipe on Twitter. Just to round the day out we also made twelve pints of this zucchini corn relish.

With the two baskets of peaches that I saved for myself I thought about making the Peach Nectarine Butter from last year but instead went with the Pickled Peaches recipe from We Sure Can!.

The haul.

The haul.

By the end of a long day in a hot kitchen we were all really quite tired but our arms were full of preserves that we’ll enjoy well into the winter. For more, check out this post from Joel and Dana at Wellpreserved.ca on the topic of larger group preserving.

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Posted in: Jam, Pickling, Preserving.

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