Stone-Fruit and Rain
by Fresh and Frugal
One of the best smells in the world is that second just before the rain. Everyone else seems to be so enamored with the after-the-rain smells that even candles (really? You’re going to use fire?) try to harness it. Sitting at the window today, all I could smell was the impending rain. Sure, it sprinkled for just a moment, but all day that glorious cool breeze brushed in one window and out another.
There are really only three smells that are up there with impending-rain-smell: lavender, peaches, and my mom. I don’t have any lavender, and my mom is about 800 miles away, so guess what ingredient I used today? That’s right. White peaches. Well, mostly. One standard yellow peach got thrown into the mix by accident, but it’s alright, I don’t mind. As I peeled and sliced the way through my nearly-three-pounds of peaches at the window, all I could think about was how well the honey-peachy scent mingles with that of cool, fresh air.
Before we go any further I need to first say that I wait with baited breath until Rachel (racheleats.wordpress.com, or check out the link in my blogroll) posts again. Lately all I can manage to do is eat peaches, and imagine how silly I look, waiting in the checkout with a hand-basket half-full of peaches? Today was no different, especially because Rachel nailed my craving: Peach preserves. Following her recipe (well, the best I could without a scale. Want to buy one for me?), I couldn’t help dipping the end of the spoon in throughout the day, tasting the developing preserve. It looks, smells, and tastes absolutely wonderful.
Oh yeah, and I had a special request for my pluot tart again last week, but alas! The request-ee fell ill and I haven’t seen her since the day she went home early with a stomach bug. I’m hoping she comes in tomorrow, because I spent this afternoon (while waiting for the peach preserves to come to setting point) making a tart for her. I’m so flattered that she even asked for one!
White Peach Preserves
2 lbs. 10 oz white peaches (I figure that’s 10-12 peaches?)
1 lb. 2 oz. sugar (just under 2.5 c granulated sugar?)
Depending on the juiciness of your peaches, 5 tbsp of water.
If you wish, peel the peaches.
Slice all the peaches quite thinly and place into a pot. If they’re not juicy, add the 5tbsp of water, and heat on low.
When the peaches begin to soften and become mushy, add the sugar and stir until it’s well dissolved. Continue stirring every so often to be sure that nothing burns or sticks. After 2 1/2 – 3 hrs, your preserves should be finished (unless you added too much water).
Ladle into sterilized jars, seal tightly, and store in a cool, dry place.
Note: After a bit of googling, it seems that your preserves are going to be ready when, after a plate has been refrigerated for about 15 minutes, a little bit of the preserves is spread on the plate, it’s returned to the fridge for 5 minutes, and the edges of the mixture look slightly puckered when poked with a finger. Mine is a little thinner, no puckering, but good enough for me!