Cut to 3 days later when, alas, a day of freedom. My mom texted to see if i wanted to can peaches. CAN PEACHES? of course i did. what better way to spend a day not working?
We decided to buy the peaches rather than pick them, thinking it would save time, and the money savings was pretty small between U-Pick and buying them from the farm. We ran to Blok Orchard early Friday morning, and I was pleasantly surprised! Peach seconds (so, the ones that are not as beautiful as the firsts) were 12 bucks for a bushel. a WHOLE BUSHEL people. that was a lot more than i could handle alone. whew, good thing there was three of us. we all decided its much easier with more than one person.
ran from the orchard to meijer and meijer to mom's. and go!
[on a side note, we realized that we should not have picked the last hottest day of summer. i think 90 degrees was too hot for canning peaches over the stove!]
you can kindof tell that they're seconds... a little bruised. but sitting in a can of sugar for 3 months will solve that!
our littlest helper
blowing kisses before naptime
[okay, this was not part of the canning process. she's just too precious to ignore.]
that's a lot of peaches, flatman!
we had to pour over our cookbooks. Suz and I have never canned, and mom said it had been "like, 25 years!" since she had. we basically started from square one.
make your sugar syrup to go in with the peaches (we picked the light syrup).
it was as simple as waiting for it to dissolve and boil.
new lids are essential.
this is acutally a pressure cooker we borrowed from a friend. the pressure cooking looked like it would take too long, so we just used it as a big pot to boil our jars in. boil lots of water. keep an extra pot of water (or a kettle) boiling in case you need to add more water to your pot after adding the peach jars.
jars. it's called canning, but you use jars. huh. just thought of that.
another necessity. the peach jar grabby guy. well, that sounds bad, but this guy was priceless [worth the trip back to meijer to return a broken jar and to retrieve this guy].
once we peeled our peaches, we let them sit in a mixture of sierra mist and water to keep them from browning until our water was boiled enough to add the jars. it worked!
we used the cold pack (or raw-pack) method. saves time! peel and cut the peaches. stuff (and i mean stuff!) them into a jar, and add the syrup mixture, leaving room at the top. clean the top and edge of jar and add a top. place in boiling water. add enough water to the pot to completely cover the jars by at least an inch. boil for 25-30 minutes, then remove and let cool (refer to Betty Crocker for more detailed instructions).
and voila! it was such a good feeling pulling a jar of peaches out of the boiling water, knowing that i will be able to pull these out at meals this winter.
i'm pretty excited.
i felt like laura ingalls wilder.
[side note: see all that space/extra liquid at the bottom? that was our first batch, and we did not stuff the jars appropriately. when i say stuff, i mean pack them in there, or you will have tons of room left. they pack pretty well, acutally, and are no worse for wear]
i'm hoping to do pears too, but that might be more ambtious that i have time for this year.
but now i know, and i WILL be doing it again. it was worth it, and we're not even to winter yet.
and just for fun, the cutest baby girl ever.