This long, drawn-out, irritatingly maddening winter may finally be starting to lose its grip here in Indiana. My silver maples are starting to bud and I’ve seen daffodil shoots just start poking out of the ground. After a morning low of 15 degrees (on March 26!), the temperatures climbed into the upper 30s. Okay, not exactly springlike but the winds have shifted to the south, which brings the promise of warmer temperatures tomorrow. Budding trees may indeed be one of my favorite early signs of spring, something to start me thinking about planting my (quite small) garden. This year? Several containers of Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, a variety that I containered last year with good (and delicious) results.
This is the time my thoughts turn to canning. I’m thinking fewer jams and more salsas. Or specifically, more jars of peach salsa. There is nothing quite like opening a jar of summer in the middle of a typically dreary and cold Indiana winter. Two years ago we had a very warm March followed by a very cold April (with a series of frosts and freezes). Unfortunately, the peach (and apple) trees had blossomed. End result? Hoosier orchardists lost about 90% of their crops. I canned about 6 or 7 jars of salsa that year. Much better last year and I canned 15 jars. My goal for 2014 is 30 jars! But not all for me–I like to give them as gifts (and they are typically well received). So, friends, let’s all hope for a good Indiana peach crop this year. Who knows? You may be in line for a gift from moi!