Day six... oh boy. Today was too stressful. It seems like there's a tornado going around at work, and these lambs at home are absolutely relentless about escaping. Every morning this week I've woken up to Mini Jen baaing her low pitched (very annoying) baa at 6:30am, just next to our bedroom window. She's informing me that the lambs got out again and she's jealous and hungry for greener grass and wants to join them, but is too fat to squeeze out so I'd better get my butt out of bed and open the freaking gate. Now.
But I love them. And I love Mini. Today we had a heart-to-heart head scratch session. She's so wise. When I got home I went down to the pasture to wrangle the lambs from my neighbor's flower garden and she just stood by me the entire time. So I sat down and just rubbed behind her ears while she stared me in the eyes. Somehow I think she sensed how stressed I was and beckoned me on purpose. Growing up I would never have guessed I'd have deep relationships with sheep.
Anyway, spiced peaches. They're amazing, otherwise I wouldn't post a recipe. They're also really easy to make. Much less time consuming than salsa or jam. Also, they're just so pretty! They do contain a lot of sugar, but remember that you're only going to eat one or two pieces at a time. It'll be okay. That's why you have a toothbrush. Use it, haha!
-twenty pounds of peaches(Not under-ripe but not ripe either... the best is if you can hold it in your hand and it's not so soft that you can easily push your finger and puncture the skin- the reason being skinning. It's way easier for the skins to slip off if they're not too ripe, but if they are its okay. They still taste incredible.)
-a handful of whole cloves
-a handful of crushed cinnamon stick (a mortar and pestle works well)
-five pounds of sugar
-one quart of water
-two cups white vinegar
-three to four inches of ginger root
1. Peel peaches the same way you peel tomatoes for canning. Make sure to pit them afterwards, don't try to core them like tomatoes. Just dunk in boiling water, then ice, then peel, then pit. Try to keep the peaches in two halves only, otherwise they'll just turn to mush.
2. Meanwhile, boil the sugar, water, and vinegar until the consistency is that of a thickened syrup. It will look visibly thicker, but still feel thin.
3. Add the cloves, cinnamon, peeled and sliced ginger, and peaches.
4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
5. Fill your sterilized jars, leaving one inch of headspace from the top of the rim. Try to pack in as many peaches as possible, and then top them off with syrup. The peaches will rise compacted to the top once you can them. (I plan on using leftover syrup for sweetening coffee as I use the peaches this winter... I think it would also make a really amazing pancake syrup.)
6. Process in a hot water bath, following the instructions for peach chutney.
Note: Since I'm not completely insane, I divided this into two approximate batches. The first I somehow had more liquid than I needed to fill the jars. So for the second batch I just used the leftovers, added more spices, and improvised with a little raw apple cider vinegar and more water to see how it turned out. I also added a single bay leaf to the second batch. VERY good.