Probably someone had eaten a peach and thrown away its stone. Thoughtlessly. But it fell on fertile ground, sprouted roots, and grew into a little tree. Unnoticed, along the path that I walked every morning. A tiny trunk among bushes and brambles.
One sunny day in autumn, five years ago, I spotted two small fruits, deep yellow with red blushes. Their aroma tempted me to take a bite–the juicy flesh released its intense flavor in my mouth. They were the best peaches I ever tasted.
Jan and I transplanted the young tree to our garden. To stimulate root development, we pruned its little crown and waited for the new growth season.
When Jan wanted to remove it, he found that the withered stump had sprouted a fresh shoot. In the beginning, it flowered but didn’t bear fruit. It just grew.
Last year, we harvested our first peaches, about six pounds, which I turned into three big jars of delicious jam.
Then this year! Its branches hung low with their load of colored fruits. I checked them daily, trying to find the perfect moment for picking; they had to be ripe, but not mushy. Last week, I knew that harvest day was close.
At the end of a prayer meeting, one of my dear Italian sisters in Christ, Orietta, asked, “Can I pick your peaches?” The image of my velvet-skinned treasures disappearing from our tree must have made me temporarily insane. “No, you can’t. I want to make jam.”
The next morning, I called her to apologize for my ugly, greedy reaction. She forgave me on the spot. “I didn’t intend to pick all of them, just one or two to eat right away.” I cringed. “I’ll bring you a bag full!”
I picked and picked, but the little tree kept supplying. My shame grew deeper as I pondered the possibility of God multiplying the harvest.
Two afternoons of peeling, cutting, cooking, and stirring have produced peach jam for at least half a year. I am grateful for God’s blessing of a rich harvest, but even more for Orietta.
God can make shoots grow out of dead trunks and turn them into fruit bearing trees. He can transform a depressed woman–like Orietta when we first met–into a passionate, joyful Christian, whose greatest desire it to bear fruit for His Kingdom.
Orietta’s easy no peel, no stir, no added pectin, low-sugar recipe for jam (which will save me a lot of time next year): Clean and cut the fruit. Leave to macerate overnight with 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar for each pound (500 grams) of fruit. The next morning, let it simmer for three to four hours—don’t stir—until it is thick and syrupy.
And how about this for a practical tip: if God blesses you, be sure to share the blessing!