March 2nd, 2009
Miss Nancy, who is in her 70’s, works part time in our mailing department. Everybody loves Miss Nancy. She is a great cook and is especially good at making homemade jelly and preserves. A couple of years ago, she brought me a jar of her peach preserves. They were the best peach preserves I had ever put in my mouth. My youngest daughter, Joy, who lives in Brentwood, TN, was visiting and tasted some of the peach preserves on my homemade biscuits. I have been making biscuits for 46 years, every morning for 35 years, until Ken, my husband, had to have four heart bypasses. That was the end of that and now I make them occasionally. Joy said, “that is the best thing I have ever tasted out of a jar.” She wanted to learn how to make the preserves and so we formulated a plan that when we came back from our vacation in Florida, we would stop at Durbin Farms in Alabama and buy peaches. She would come to Knoxville and we would learn how to make Miss Nancy’s peach preserves. The peaches have to ripen for several days after purchase so about 5 days later Joy came to Knoxville. Miss Nancy agreed to come to my house to teach us how to make her famous peach preserves. Miss Nancy had told us to get four bushels of peaches, two for her and two for us. When she saw the amount of peaches that we had purchased, she was shocked because she was thinking boxes, not bushels so we had twice the amount of peaches that we should have had. We are thinking this is not a bad thing because we really liked the preserves. Did I mention that Joy has a baby that at the time was 12 months old. She is the peach of our life for sure. So here we are making peach preserves, the baby is crawling around and having fun. We decided that after about two hours that we know what to do so Miss Nancy leaves to work on her own peaches. I was chopping the peaches and Joy was cooking the preserves, which had to be timed for a certain amount of minutes when I glanced over at the open pantry where the baby had found a large bottle of Crisco oil. The bottle was plastic so I thought it would be fine to let her just play with the bottle. Was I ever wrong! I glanced over again and she had the lid off the bottle and was pouring it out all over the floor and on her. Joy could not stop cooking the peaches that she was timing, so I was on my own with the oil and the baby. I just pulled her little dress off and sat her in an empty peach box until I could wipe up some of the oil off the floor. In the meantime she decides that she likes the feel of the oil and starts rubbing it in her hair and on her face. We had to stop making peach preserves and give her a bath and scrub the floor. Have you ever tried to get a bottle of Crisco off the kitchen floor? Not an easy job, but finally I used Dawn dish washing detergent and it took the grease up.
We made 95 jars of peach preserves that day and we are still enjoying them. Miss Nancy has also given us her recipe for homemade apple butter that she makes in a crock pot. Another trip to Florida and Durbin Peach Farms is in the works for this summer. After tasting the peach preserves that we made, my oldest daughter, Kathy wants to be in on the peach preserve making this summer. I think we have started a new family tradition. I will be sure to hide the Crisco oil.