Friday, August 31, 2012

Eating Omily: More! More! More!

I keep hearing people express sadness at the fact that the Summer is winding down.  I for one am thrilled I can turn off the AC and open the windows once in a while, but I know, Summer is a special time.  The good news is, Summer is still rolling at the Farmer's Market!  I was so blown away by the huge variety of ripe produce in my share on Monday I took pictures.
 Are you seeing this?  One summer squash, one cucumber, five potatoes, one onion, three peaches, three beets (with greens=two veggies in one!), two sweet peppers, three hot peppers, two ears of corn, one eggplant, a big bag of green beans, and three tomatos!  For twenty dollars!!  Are you signing up for a CSA next year?  Thought so.

Had one of my favourite summer snacks the other day: a sliced tomato drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt.
 And then it was time to get down to business.  I brought home ten pounds of peaches, a jar of honey, and a pint of brandy.  And no, sadly, the brandy was not to give me comfort as I spent the next few hours canning peaches.  It had a higher calling...
 All of the peaches had to be blanched: boiled for thirty seconds to a minute to loosen their skins, then plunged into acidulated ice water.  Here's all my blanched peaches, just a couple skinned, halved, and pitted so far.
 An hour later, here they are all done!
 A lot of the skins failed to loosen, which meant I had to carefully peel them with a paring knife, doing my best to remove as little flesh as possible.
 The peach halves were packed into hot, clean quart jars, and I put together the syrup and brought it up to a boil.  In the syrup: water, sugar, local honey, brandy, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves.  It smelled so good; wish you could have been there!
 Here are my lovely jars, seven in all, of peaches in brandy syrup.
 Air bubbles are still making their way out of the outer cell structure of the peaches, which is why they're floating.
I ran out of brandy syrup and had to pack two jars in just water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks.  I left the cinnamon sticks in those jars so I'd know which was which.

August may be almost over, but Summer is still in full swing, and canning season is just getting started!  On Monday me and my wonderful friend Rebecca will be putting up two cases, that's fifty pounds(!) of awesome San Marzano plum tomatoes, courtesy of Central Valley Farm in New Jersey  They are cutting us an amazingly good deal since we're buying in bulk.  They're also responsible for that steal of a share I started this post with.  They're at Union Square on Mondays, and besides tasty produce, including lots of heirloom tomatoes, they have pastured eggs and beef, homemade yogurt and yogurt smoothies, homemade tomato sauce and soup, and a variety of awesome cheeses, both raw milk and pasturized.  Far and away my favourite stand at the Market.  Please, please go say hi, and tell them Emily Hursh sent you!

~em

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