Friday, July 30, 2010

Peaches

My husband and I spent all of yesterday evening turning these

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into this:

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That’s twenty-three pints of white peach jam, and if there is anything more satisfying in this world than turning a bushel of fruit you grew yourself into a sunlit table full of jam, well, I don’t know what it would be.

There’s that moment when the jars start to seal, that little shnoop sound when the lid pops down, and my heart just cheers inside my sweaty little chest. I do find it something of a bitter pill that fruit ripens, of course, in the summer, so I am forced to can it when the kitchen is 100 degrees, but it is absolutely worth it.

A few years ago, my neighbor (who is one of those old-timey country farmer types) came through the hedge carrying a peach sapling that had come up from a pit in his compost pile. He asked if we wanted it, and we, knowing nothing at all about how fruit is usually propagated, said heck yeah, we do!

I have since discovered that peach trees (and other fruit trees, too) are not ever grown from seed, because you can’t know what the result will be, and most times it will be something yucky—bitter and inedible.

The tree grew, and we waited. One year, a few little blossoms burst forth, and the bees showed up, and lo, there was fruit.

The peaches were tiny, barely bigger than the pits inside. But the flesh was sweet, and white, not too flowery, delicious.

Eventually, we figured out to thin then, and they got a little bigger, and the tree got bigger and more blossoms came, and more bees showed up, and pretty soon, we had ourselves a decent peach tree, making big baskets full of still-petite, but juicy and sweet, white peaches.

Finally, someone clued us in about fruit tree propagation, and informed us that we were in possession of an amazing feat of nature—a fruit tree, grown from seed, that produces edible, delicious, desirable fruit.

Which makes this seem all the more like treasure.

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