That Great State of Utah
A bit of 'me' trivia - I was born in the state of Utah and resided there for the first four years of my life. We lived in a very rural town - Delta, hardly worth the speck on the map. Except for the cheese factory, smelly but delicious cheese curds. Our family was possibly the only non LDS family. I won't make the bold statement of saying we were the ONLY, because I think there may have been one other. But you get the picture. Who knows why my mom agreed to plop her family down in that place other than that's where my dad got a job and there was a bit of family in town.
I have a few memories of that little town, and have been back a handful of times. It never seems to change; the same people at the cafe, same families on the farms, mostly the same stores and cheese factory. I can't say that I would ever want to plant roots there, in fact I need to thank my mom once again for getting us out. However I believe that my mom fled that place with having compiled some useful tidbits for life. For example she has collected an impressive arsenal of jello recipes. Why hasn't jello made a resurgence? Some of those recipes are goooooood. I'll have to read the jello ingredients, if it's not too freaky perhaps I'll try and push it into new life. My mother picked up on how to throw a family gathering for 20 people and over (not counting the army of kids to follow). It's really not too hard, it's called potluck gatherings and everyone assumes it's such and brings their most prized covered dish (and again, more jello). But lately her skill and education in the resource of storing food has become most beneficial.
Yes folks canning. I recently purchased a case, 32 glorious pounds of Utah peaches. See there it is again, that darn bee hive state. Well Utah does produce the best peaches in the west. I couldn't pass up this opportunity at a case of Utah peaches (with out having to enter into the state). At first my baking mind was spinning with the possibilities, then I realized I will never make it to baking that much food before these beauties rot. Then my mom emailed me and asked if we wanted to can some. Brilliant! I've actually wanted to try my hand at canning, but it seemed like too much of a task. Plus even though I circulate the proper genes, I don't posses the proper equipment.
Thankfully my mom took it upon herself to learn this skill and was probably the only lady in town actually canning (she only had two kids so there was some amount of free time). I don't remember her canning in Utah, but I do remember her canning bits of garden overflow when we lived in Colorado. It was such a joy to open a jar of raspberries or peaches in the middle of winter. I never helped her with this process when I was younger, but I remember the sugar, lids, jars, pits, and peels spread all over the kitchen. I remember waiting to hear the jars seal and then running on my merry way.
I was expecting complete mayhem yesterday as we set out to can. Between the two of us working in almost assembly line style we had those gorgeous peaches skinned, sliced, packed up and sealed in about 2 hours. Now we have 11 beautiful jars of peaches. They look so golden and formal a part of me doesn't ever want to touch them. I'm trying to hold out until winter when the juiciness of a fresh peach is no where in site. The kids are begging to open one up and I really need to set them in the pantry so a wee-one hurling unknown object wouldn't mean complete catastrophe.
What better way to keep us out of the jars than peach bread, one of my most beloved breads. I would try so very hard to keep from eating the whole loaf when I was younger. Oh, and once in college I made this, but tried to skip the whole peeling the peach step. Not a good idea, no one wanted to even try my blue green algae looking bread.
Makes two loaves
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups mashed peaches (peeled)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream together sugar, eggs, shortening. Add peaches and vanilla mix thoroughly. Add all dry ingredients to wet and stir lightly until incorporated. Fold in nuts and divide batter into 2 greased loaf pans (9x5). Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Perhaps it's no New York, or fancy pancy state like I don't know, Nevada. Utah is full of it's own useful wonders, and is not ashamed of their passion for jello one bit.