Remember the other day I went to the orchard and got a bunch of peaches? These peaches, to be exact:
Well, I turned them stem side down, laid them all out, and let time do it’s job for a couple days, and today I processed them all. Lemme tell you- a bushel of peaches is a project. First you have to sort them (perfectly good, a few mushy parts, half rotten). Then you gotta wash them. Then you gotta quarter them while leaving them on the pit, and scald them for a minute. Then an ice bath. Then when in the ice path, you gotta slow get the four quarters separated from the pit without ruining the fruit (the skins come off in the process). The videos I watched had these ladies with tiny hands who were able to just massage them with their palms and they would come apart. I have bear claws, so it was a little harder.
I then put all the really good quartered peaches in sterilized jars. The not so good ones but still edible I threw in a pot for jam, the skins and the pits went into a separate pot for jelly. While I was adding a simple syrup to the jars for canning, I cooked down the jam peaches, got the canner up to a boil, and started cooking down the peels for jelly. For half the canned peaches, I used just a raw sugar. For the other half, I used a monkfruit extract so I can give a bunch to dad to take to South Carolina over winter and have with his cottage cheese in the morning. He doesn’t know this, and it is going to be a surprise, so don’t tell him. If you are worried he will see it in this post and ruin the surprise, don’t worry- he does not read this blog because “WHY DO YOU HAVE TO USE SUCH FOUL LANGUAGE YOU HAVE A BETTER VOCABULARY THAT THAT AND WHY ALL THE VULGAR IMAGERY AREN’T YOU ASHAMED TO WRITE LIKE THAT WE RAISED YOU BETTER WHAT IF MY FRIENDS DO A GOOGLE SEARCH FOR JOHN COLE AND FIND YOU AND THINK IT IS ME!”
At any rate, the whole thing took about 6-7 hours, and here are the results:
27 quarts of canned peaches
12 jars of peach jam
and not showing, about 8 jars of peach jelly
I ran out of steam and didn’t feel like filtering the jelly through cheesecloth a half dozen times tonight, so it is in the fridge and I will do it tomorrow.
All in all, it was a fun project. Two of the canned peaches did not seal, so I put them in the fridge and will have some tomorrow. If the prices drop, I think I might get another bushel and make more to give away to friends for the holiday. All told, this was about 80 bucks worth of produce, jars, and sugar, and I think I turned it into over 300 dollars worth of value.
I also quartered three more gallon bags full of tomatoes and put them in the freezer. I’m up to about 8 gallons of tomatoes and maybe 1/3 through the season. Sauce and salsa day is going to be a long one when I do it.