Getting canned

Buying fifty pounds of peaches for fifty dollars seemed like a dandy idea at the farm. After all, I’d easily preserved that much in years past.

But not all at the same time.

As I stared in horror at two hundred pieces of quickly ripening fruit, hubby poked his head in the kitchen and offered to help. Forming an assembly line, we knocked out the peeling and de-pitting in just three hours.

Removing pits

A little tip when removing skin from produce like peaches, or even tomatoes. Boil a pot of water, submerge the fruit, wait a minute or so, then dunk in a bowl of cold water. The skin will peel right off.

Blanching

If making jam, boil the goo following instructions that come with the pectin or from the USDA. Be wary of random websites offering canning recipes, unless they jive with the USDA’s recommendations. I am far, far from being a germaphobe — and it’s highly unlikely that canned food will make you ill — but I still take it seriously and go by the advice of much smarter folks who study this sort of thing for a living.

Jam ready to jar

When cooked, pour immediately into sterilized jars, cover, and boil in a hot water bath. Et voilà, peach jam.

Peach pouring

With only two-thirds of the fruit used, we were up to our eyeballs in jam, so the rest went into a hot pack of boiling water for plain, cooked peaches. These suckers make a fantastic addition to breakfast oatmeal in the winter.

Peach hot pack

After ten hours in total, we had a year’s supply of peach goodness for ourselves and for gifts. Though it does take a little time, canning is not a difficult process at all, and jam is a great springboard for beginners.

Finished peaches

Perhaps now it’s time for a wee quality check, strictly in the name of science, of course. A loaf of peach bread should do the job nicely…

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