Thursday, August 22, 2013

peaches forever, and canning so many of them.

So I might have mentioned in the previous post that we were rich in peaches, about fifty pounds of them. I let them sit for a couple days while we were camping, but as soon as we got home I set to work. It took about two days to take care of them all, but now they are preserved in so many different ways and ready to give us a little bit of that summery sunshine in the midst of our grey, dark winter. 

The day we picked them was one of those gloriously sweltering days, that don't come around to often around here. We were hot during the long car drive stuck in traffic, hot in the dry fields with peach fuzz all over us, and hot heading home as the sun started to set. I love those days because it feels so full of summer, and I love to remember them when the days begin to cool. 

This little lady (who fell on her chin at the pool the day before), was happy wandering the orchard and collecting and eating the fallen peaches. These trees were great because they were little and even Shosh could pick her own peaches from the tree. We were there on the first or second day of the season (for the variety we were picking, Veteran) so a lot of the fruit was still ripening. But even so, there was still tons of ripe fruit for the picking. 

So the fruit made its way into many different jams, canned on their own and with vanilla in a light syrup, ice cream, popsicles, a crisp, and frozen for smoothies. I canned a ton of them and used several different recipes, all without any added pectin (I am trying to can everything without pectin this year). It was my first time canning peaches whole, so I followed a few different recipes. I made the vanilla ones from this book, some basic ones from this book, and some following the recipe on this website.

For jams I also made a bunch of different batches. I used a recipe or two from this book and a couple from this book again too. Some with vanilla, because we love vanilla over here, and some without. Right before I started canning, the Saving the Season book by Kevin West arrived on hold for me at the library. I used a few of the recipes this time around, and I think this might be my new favorite canning book. I can't wait to get to sit and look at it a bit more, but I am loving it. I think it might be on my birthday wish list (which is coming up rather quickly- my how times flies!). 

And maybe I should ask for a proper canning pot too- I have been canning all these years without a proper pot or rack- might be about time to invest in one. The canning plan for the rest of the summer is: tomatoes, dilly beans, pickled beets, pickles, blackberry jam, and as it turns into fall, applesauce. I also have a huge bunch of basil that needs to be turned into pesto and kept in the freezer. I always make a ton of jars of pesto every year and we always run out. We get a hankering for it in early spring, and eat lots of it. 

(this is about a third of what I canned, the rest is in the pantry, and I couldn't bring myself to drag it out just for a photo)

Happy canning to all of you! What are you putting up this year?

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