Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There and back again

Do you remember my saying that I was finished with the canning?  I think I wrote it.  Sure, it's right here!  Well, I was wrong, dang it!  Little did I know that a peck of peaches would be coming my way.  How much is a peck, you ask.....two gallons, but I'm estimating.  When you have to peel the peaches, it's about two and a half hours of your sewing time.  Am I complaining?  Absolutely, surely not!  I'm just letting you know that if you want to put up a peck of peaches, you'll need an afternoon.  
These darlings are absolutely beautiful.  In about three minutes the entire house smelled like summer sweetness, and I was elbow deep with the paring knife.  None of that playing around with green stuff, these little peaches are tree ripened and picked firm with just a hint of squish.  Since my favorite fruit of all time is peaches, you can imagine how much I smiled when they arrived.  
Peel, peel, peel and before you know it, they look like this.  The trick to peeling the firmer ones is to boil water in a heavy saucepan and drop them in for a minute or so.  The skin doesn't slide off the way it does for tomatoes, but it works in much the same way and peeling is a breeze.  Which is good when you have gallons to put up.       

So what to do with them then?  Well, I couldn't remember what we did when I was a little girl.  I remembered peeling peaches on Ma-ma's back porch, but I'm pretty sure she shooed us toward the yard when she started handled the hot jars.  At any rate, I decided to give it my best and figure it out on my own.  First I stuffed as many peaches as I possibly could into the hot pints, then I shoved a few more of the softer ones in.  They turned to juice in my fingers but I wanted to fill in the air spaces.  I added only 1/8 cup of sugar with an 1/8 cup of Splenda to take care of the diabetics in the family.  Wipe down the tops to clean off the sugars and add the lids and rings.

Then I dropped the jars into the pressure cooker and covered them with water.  Fifteen minutes of a boiling hot water bath and they were ready to cool on a dishtowel.  I just love the sound of canning jars when the seal pops down.  It's a sound from my youth that means the goods are done.  I can't wait to open a jar and bake up a pan of peach cobbler.  I could probably eat an entire pan of peach cobbler by myself, but I'll try to share with the family.

You may think I'm exaggerating I'm not.  A few years ago one of our sons and his wife were stationed at Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia.  We made several trips to visit them and somehow managed to arrive at the peak of peach season a few of those times.  On the first of those summer trips, we went to a peach farm to pick our own.  That didn't happen, but we left with bellies full of peach ice cream and a box of peaches.  I baked a huge pan of my homemade peach cobbler which we shared with neighbors.  The rest of the peaches were loaded into the back seat of the truck.  The idea was that it was too hot in the back.  Every couple of minutes I offered Richard a peach, which he politely refused.  I'd get one for myself and just savor every taste.  When we arrived in Louisiana, there were no peaches left.  I'd eaten every one!  Richard just knew I'd be sick from eating so many peaches, but it never fazed me.  After that, when we drove to Georgia, we picked up two boxes of peaches....one for my drive home and one for everyone else!

I won't have you thinking that this is the best recipe for canning peaches.  I have no idea yet whether they will be good.  Instead, try this recipe from the Georgia peach board.  You might be much safer!  They have recipes as well, such as this Mini Peach Cheesecakes recipe.  

1 comment:

LaDonna and Diana said...

I love peaches too! You're right about the sound of the lids popping...such a happy sound!

LaDonna