exploring, preserving: past, present


Saturday Upsides–Kitchen Mistake turns into Positive Partaking of Peach Preserves

My former English teacher would be jumping for joy at the title of this post.  😉

Well, I spent some time this week preserving a case of peaches. Peach preserves in light syrup are my husband’s favourite pick, and they come in a close second to my favourite–pear preserves.

Peaches in hot water, to make skin easier to remove.

All was going pretty well according to plan, except it was going too slowly. Too many peaches to peel quickly, too many things happening all at once in the kitchen. Ultimately, I ended up having my last batch of jars of preserve come out of the hot water bath too early. How do I know this?  The happy little “ping” sound of metal lids creating their vacuum seal just didn’t happen. Even crossing my fingers that it would happen overnight in the cooling process didn’t work.


So much effort, and now I had two quarts of peach preserves that couldn’t be stored for the winter.

Because I had spent so much time and effort preserving them, I was frustrated. But then our two Chinese girls who are staying with us (attending university) came into the kitchen and oohed and aahed at the jars. They asked lots of questions about how to make preserves, and kept saying how beautiful they looked. We ended up opening one jar and sharing big bowls of peach preserves right then and there–yum.

Sure, I knew that the contents would be good for a few weeks if stored in the fridge. My feelings of frustration were more about the amount of time and effort put into food storage that was supposed to be for winter.

What was the “upside”? Instead of having to wait a few months, I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with our two girls, and learned how much they love peaches and pears (and get them very rarely in China). Love it.

Which only makes me want to preserve more peaches and pears…for more conversations like the one I had this week with them!  🙂

Happy Saturday–and keep finding the positives! Join Bonnie and others by writing Saturday Upsides posts each Saturday!



Saturday Upsides – finding the Positive!

I’ve been thinking about starting “Saturday Upsides” posts ever since Bonnie started them a month or so ago. This Saturday (yesterday) seems the perfect situation to highlight for my first post like this. But first, the back-story….

Bonnie from Recipes Happen had the idea to do Saturday posts that look for the positive in things/situations that might, on the surface, look not so positive.

Now for my Saturday story. Yesterday (Saturday), I woke up feeling horrendous. Near-migraine, chills, stomach pains…and all this had been building since Wednesday night. But I thought it would eventually just go away. Not so! So a 7 am trip to the walk-in clinic confirmed I needed antibiotics and bedrest.

Okay, that means my Saturday would be spent in bed, cuddling with my dog Selah. That’s not so bad, right?

Selah, my 9-year-old Shih-tzu.

That in itself could be considered the upside of my Saturday. But I did have one other upside. I found enough energy to gather 3 very simple ingredients to make what I had always wanted to make–a mixture of honey, ginger, and lemon to use in hot water for when I’m feeling icky.

This concentrate is so easy to make.  Just take two lemons, slice them very thinly, and place into a 500 or 750mL jar (size depends on the ratio of honey to lemons you want, I chose 750mL). Chop up 2tbsp of fresh ginger and add to the jar. Pour unpasteurized honey over the top, making sure you mix to get rid of air bubbles.

Two tablespoons of this mixed with hot water is so good.

Actually, a tablespoon of this with a shot of rum or whisky is also quite medicinal.  😉

So, my Saturday that could have been me moping away the day had two upsides: I cuddled all day with my dog, and I tried a recipe that I had wanted to make (and it took only one minute of my time!) that will help me feel better!

Want to join the Saturday Upsides conversation? Just add Bonnie’s picture and link (see above) to your post and join us!  (And thanks Bonnie for starting the trend!)

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Growing Season for Peppers…Waiting…Waiting… #gardening

Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for the red pepper plants to produce peppers this year. I chose not to start them from seed. Instead, I picked up starter plants from a local greenhouse when they were about 3 inches tall.  After waiting four weeks, I had signs of life.

Grow, my little pepper!

After waiting another six weeks, that pepper is now about the size of a roma tomato.

Keep on growing!

This is the first time I’ve grown red peppers, so I’m not sure if it’s this summer’s weather, my (lack of) watering patterns, or my lack of knowledge regarding growing times for peppers, but it feels like I’ll be waiting forever for these peppers to ripen!

I guess the good news is that the plants have at least two dozen healthy looking peppers on them. I know I will have to pull them into our sunroom soon, since evening temperatures are getting closer to zero lately.  How much longer ’til I can make a stir fry with fresh peppers from the garden??