It was hot the day I picked them. It took 2 days to process them all and the kitchen was like Georgia in July with the canning pots belching out steam for hours on end. The pots are huge. Black with white speckles and the lids rattle as the water boils sounding like a never ending earthquake. Windows are covered with condensation with slow trickles of water running onto the sill. Juice ran to my elbows as I peeled, dripping on the floor and saturating my apron with the sticky sweet mess. Baskets of the fuzzy sweet skin created such an overwhelmingly heady and delicious smell it clung to anyone passing through the kitchen as if they had been sprayed with an intoxicating perfume. All those skins once tossed in the yard made many happy chickens that decided to camp out on the kitchen stoop so they could peer into the glass door, using secret chicken powers to force me to throw out more. I made jam, fresh packed halves and pie filling. The jars stacked in the pantry are a beautiful combination of orange, reds and yellows that seem to glow and look like a flashy exotic concoction in glass. I’m always a heroine deep in the cold damp winter when the smell of a fresh pie wafts through the house. My family is coaxed into slumber with full bellies; lips still sticky with syrup while the cold of winter swirls around outside. What a blessing it is to go from a kitchen that felt like summer in the deep south to cracking open this jar of sunshine in the cold harsh winter. There is nothing that can compare to the joy of savoring a treat that went from tree to table with your own efforts. Would you agree?
Peach pie is fresh from the oven.
Jars of peach pie filling and peach jam cooling.