preservings

exploring, preserving: past, present


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Wonderful Wednesday: #Health, #Happiness, and Middle-Aged Meanderings

Well, I missed my usual “Saturday Upsides” post this past weekend. Bonnie from Recipes Happen started the trend, and I joined in after I read a couple of her posts. Life got busy this past weekend, and add some health problems and a trip to the doctor and the blog entry just disappeared from my to-do list.  😦 

Well, it’s Wednesday. So consider this my “Saturday Upsides” post…but since it’s Wednesday I guess I need to call it “Wonderful Wednesday” instead.

I mentioned a trip to the doctor. Middle age is apparently beginning for me (according to my doctory anyway), so the doctor had a string of things that needed to be checked out, including a possible strange-looking mole, my list of allergies and reactions to substances probably getting bigger, and the “usual” middle-age routine checklist of bloodwork, stress test, poking, prodding, and cholesterol analysis.

My “upside”, or “wonderful”  part for this Wednesday, is that the only two things my doctor came back to me with were an increase in my list of what I’m allergic to, and the comment that it’s job stress that’s causing it.  Hey, it could have been a lot worse right? So on this wonderful Wednesday I am thankful. Thankful for relatively good health. Thankful for having a job that can cause me stress  (better than no job!). Thankful for the opportunity and ability to make food and environment choices that will be proactive and preventive when it comes to my allergies (some people can’t make those choices because they are not given those choices).

Happy….Thankful.

Lucky….Blessed.

So my “Saturday Upside” might be late…but it’s still wonderful on Wednesday.  🙂

Join Bonnie and others in posting Saturday Upsides…sometimes even on Wednesdays!  😀  (Thanks Bonnie!)

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Saturday Upsides – Getting Older

Growing older makes you think. Or should I say, think more. New aches and pains, new allergies, roots not matching original hair colour (grin). There’s so much about getting older that could make you start to forget the upsides…of being older.

Why am I so contemplative today? It’s my hubby’s birthday, and I am celebrating it with him. He says he feels old(er). Probably because we’ve both had more regular trips to the doctor, we’ve both been trying to make regular trips to the gym, and we’ve both had a lot of job stress in the past few years. Could set one on a course of moping for the day, right?

Not so. We have both been blessed with four decades of life, one of those decades spent together. We have wonderful jobs and coworkers (despite the stress). We are enjoying a lifestyle that we have worked incredibly hard for…and continue to work hard for it. And through all that, neither of us would turn back the clock to relive or change a portion of our lives. Our experiences brought us together, move us forward, and provide us with such a foundation of experience that life is more enjoyable because of it.

Hubby is another year older today. That’s officially the case, but in reality each day brings new opportunities for new memories. I am thankful for those opportunities, and thankful I continue to have them with Hubby. Happy birthday, my Love!

 

Want to join Bonnie at Recipes Happen and the rest of us blogging Saturday Upsides? Just blog about something that could’ve been not-so-good but turned into a positive/upside and send your link to Bonnie!


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A Recipe for Summer #Happiness…Into the Winter

Okay, I said I would move away from preserving fruits and veggies and into crafting (crochet, beeswax candles, soapmaking, etc). But I just had to share one more recipe with you all–canned peaches.

Peaches in hot water bath, briefly, preparing for peeling.

Other than canned pears, there’s nothing that says summertime bliss more than jarred halved peach preserves. They are glorious in their sunny colour, their fresh and firm texture, nestled in their lightly sugared syrupy goodness.

Peaches are skinned, halved, and waiting in water with a touch of lemon juice to prevent browning.

These preserves are definitely ones that take some effort (with skinning the peaches in particular), but they are well worth it to see their plump goodness in jars. If you plan on using quart jars (I did), count on fitting eight or nine halves into one jar.

Peaches waiting for their water bath–the final step in processing.

Here’s the recipe I used. The simple syrup can be adjusted for sugar content–I made a “light syrup” but you can certainly reduce the amount of sugar even more, or have none if you prefer! You also don’t need to use the lemon juice–it’s mostly there to prevent browning while waiting for processing. Enjoy!

Peach Preserves (makes 5 quarts)

20 firm, ripe peaches

1 cup sugar

4 cups distilled water

1/2 cup lemon juice

Sterilize 5 quart jars and lids. Keep them warm in preparation for processing.

With a sharp knife, cut an “x” into the bottom of each peach. Avoid cutting the flesh of the peach–the “x” will help in the peeling process after blanching. Prepare a pot of boiling water, placing peaches into the boiling water for approximately 30-45 seconds (no more!). Immediately pull out the peaches, place under cold running water (or in an ice bath).  Peel off the skins, using the “x” marks to help start the peeling process. Cut peaches in half, and pull out the pits (they should pop out easily if the peaches are ripe!). Toss cut, halved peaches in 1/2 cup lemon juice (to prevent browning); set aside.

To prepare your light syrup, mix 1 cup sugar with 4 cups distilled water. Bring water to boil, ensuring the sugar dissolves. Drop halved peaches into hot syrup and bring the syrup and peach mixture to boil (but do not cook more than 5 minutes!).  Many online recipes say you should be cooking the fruit in syrup for 10-20 minutes…don’t do it! They’ll be mushy and fall apart. Cooking for 5 minutes maximum ensures the peaches will keep their firm texture.

Fill quart jars with peach halves (squeezing in as many as you can–the more you squeeze in, the better they will turn out in processing!).  Fill the jar with the light syrup. Use a rubber spatula or non-metallic utensil to release any trapped air bubbles. Wipe the top of the jars, seal finger-tight, and place into a hot water bath.

Process peaches in the hot water bath for no more than 6-7 minutes.

Let cool–enjoy all winter long!