Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Best-ever" thing to make from peaches goes on shelf to enjoy for the rest of year

Whew! Mission accomplished!

For me, some food endeavors merit a great big, self-pronounced atta-girl once they're behind me.

When the peach orchard began producing in the spring and we saw that this year was going to be a watershed year where peaches were concerned, Peach Preserves, which I always consider to be a mammoth accomplishment, always were on my radar screen.

As I mention in Way Back in the Country Garden, my new cookbook, I consider Peach Preserves to be the absolute best thing that can be made from a personal peach harvest.

The recipe's not that difficult--the preparation simply involves a matter of settling in and simply getting it done. Boiling the jars, rounding up the lids and rings, peeling the peaches. The actual making of the preserves is a fairly short process compared to all the get-ready steps.

Hubby helped by being the Champeen Peach Peeler and making the grocery runs to buy some fresh lids for this year. He also helped remove the hot jars, once sterilized, to dry on clean towels spread out on the counter. That freed me to concentrate on the peach mixture.

What an absolute high I got when I finally began ladeling the preserves into jars and watch as the golden, thick syrupy mixture with giant peach chunks began settling itself into its new home in the clear jars on the countertop! Into the boiling water bath they went so the jars would seal. I never run out of excitement when I hear the telltale "click" of the jar lids as a sign that the sealing is successful. The jars then go on the pantry shelf for our dining enjoyment in the months ahead; I'll also give the best-looking ones as gifts.

One jar remained unsealed, of course. That's the one that went into our fridge so we could begin sampling this delicacy. We've already spread some on oven toast and on a few Fresh Peach Muffins, the recipe for which I've shared earlier. Tomorrow morning I intend to make some from-scratch biscuits (from Neta Welborn's recipe in the cookbook that Truett Welborn furnished me; I wrote about it in an earlier blog.)

Atta-girl for sure! The Peach Preserves are worth every bit of the effort--a gift that should keep on giving until the next spring.

Peach Preserves

8 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (about 4 pounds)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (3-ounce) package powdered pectin
7 cups sugar (although I usually use sugar substitute, for this recipe I use really sugar)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Combine peaches, lemon juice, and pectin in a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a rolling boil and stir gently. Add sugar and return to rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute; stir constantly. Remove from heat. Skim any foam. Add almond extract and mix. Pour into hot jars; leave 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust caps and process for 10 minutes in boiling-water bath. Makes about 6 12-ounce jars.

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