In Case You Ever Wondered What A Bushel of Peaches Looks Like Processed

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.

107 replies
  1. 1
    jl says:

    No, question never entered my mind. But thanks for pretty pix that bring back childhood California farm memories.

  2. 2
    debbie says:

    Now I’m hungry again.

  3. 3
    laura says:

    Mr. Cole, how did they scent your car/kitchen/house? Your handy work looks beautiful, abundant and will make a wonderful addition to any table.
    I’m days away from a Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple run and cant wait for that smell!

  4. 4
    jl says:

    I do appreciate the pretty pix. But… Cole is new at canning. I expect honesty in exploding jars reporting over next few weeks.
    That is from experience of youngins in my family trying to learn how to can from the oldsters, including me.

  5. 5
    ruemara says:

    Funny. I made a roasted peach and ginger glaze because a friend gave me some peaches from her back yard and another friend has a birthday tomorrow. And more strawberry jam to try and perfect the recipe. Wrapping up a short story and waiting for my pork loin slathered in chili, lime and peach glaze to cook so I can have that with some mushrooms.

  6. 6
    NC Soder says:

    So I bought 60 lbs of tomatoes at the farmers’ market – 20 lbs of Romas and 40 lbs of big red ones. I’ve been making marinara all day with 40 lbs of them. Just set the first batch in the water bath and will have another one before I can go to bed. I think I’ll end up with a dozen quarts – mainly because the tomatoes were terrible. They all had huge white chunks I had to cut out. I won’t buy from that farmer again.

    Tomorrow I’m going to turn the remaining 20 lbs into salsa. I would love you to share your recipe. I’m never satisfied with mine: tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic, white vinegar, salt, cilantro, jalapeños.

  7. 7
    J R in WV says:

    A thousand years ago, or so, I was a production assistant / camera man for a educational TV show about preserving food. The stars were Extension Service women who had been teaching others to can and freeze and dry foodstuffs for years. I also got to watch Grandma make pickles and jam and such.

    So I know how to can and preserve, and John’s discussion looks pretty accurate to me. Not his first time at the goat rodeo, if you ask me!

    We’ve canned with boiling water bath and with pressure canning, in the long ago. This evening we had fresh basil and new garlic whizzed into pesto on tortelinni for dinner. Looking at some fresh peaches for dessert, WV peaches are the best!

  8. 8
    Aleta says:

    Don’t forget to make the peach pies. Or a plain cake in an 8 x 12 pan and sink all the leftover squishy peach parts into the top of the batter (so they cover 80-90 % of the surface area) before you bake.

  9. 9
    chris says:

    Well, I turned them stem side down, laid them all out, and let time do it’s job for a couple days

    Can someone explain, please. I’m wondering if missing this crucial step is why my canned peaches are always so messy. ETA: Yours look perfect, John.

    OT: LOL!

    my mom just called and asked how I became the leader of antifa— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) 28 July 2019

  10. 10
    namekarB says:

    Hey John, what variety are those peaches? Important omitted information. It is like saying you stored nuts and everyone wants to know what kind of nuts. Also too, “freestone” peaches are so named because the pit (stone) comes out easy-peasy unlike “Cling” peaches which really really cling. Those little old ladies you mentioned were probably messaging “freestone” peaches.

  11. 11
    opiejeanne says:

    Mr Cole, that was a big project and they look great. It brings back memories of mr opiejeanne’s grandparents spending a Friday night at our house and waking us up at 6am on Saturday because Grandma had toddled out and spotted an ad and an article in the local newspaper. A peach grower had delivered a truckload of gorgeous peaches to the Loma Linda extension campus and had many bushels left over, and Grandma was determined to get some of those peaches. Before breakfast we all piled into their land yacht of a car and scored a couple of boxes. They were perfectly ripe and delicious and after the grandparents had been fed breakfast and rushed back home to deal with their own, we set aside a bunch of peaches to just eat while we canned the rest. I made a couple of jars of spiced peaches for variety, something I haven’t seen for sale at the grocery stores for years. They were really good.
    Now we rarely get ripe fruit these days. The peaches are shipped as hard as rocks and they don’t ripen, really, just get soft. We did get a couple of ripe white nectarines last week that were wonderful. I am tempted to plant a nectarine tree here, but they do better on the east side of the cascades.

  12. 12
    HinTN says:

    @J R in WV: Having put up my fair share of fruits and vegetables over the course of decades, I agree that young John seems to have a decent handle on it. Youthful enthusiasm makes one do more work for the perfect product and age moves one toward expediency.

    WV peaches are the best!

    “Heresy,” I cry, but I’d be delighted to have my palate educated.

  13. 13
    Jay says:




  14. 14
  15. 15
    John Cole says:

    @chris: my peaches were right off the tree and not fully ripe. You place them stem side down to let them ripen and not ruin it.

  16. 16
    HinTN says:


    here, but they do better on the east side of the cascades

    And where, if I may inquire, is “here”? (Said while lounging in a hotel room in Pioneer Square)

  17. 17
    opiejeanne says:

    @jl: I have never had a jar explode or leak, or anything else bad. I used a small book on canning for a guide. It might have been put out by Ball. It gave clear directions and had recipes for canning all sorts of foods, but I stuck to making pickles, canning fruit, and making jam. I liked using a water bath but I was never brave enough to use a pressure canner.

  18. 18
    opiejeanne says:

    @HinTN: Woodinville, about 13 miles east of where you’re sitting right now. If you can, get yourself to the Ballard Farmer’s Market tomorrow. My daughter is closing her raclette stand and business, and tomorrow is the last day.

  19. 19
    HinTN says:

    @opiejeanne: Poor planning on my part. This is just a way station between flights, the second of which leaves tomorrow for Vancouver.

  20. 20
    opiejeanne says:

    @HinTN: You didn’t let us know or we would have had an excuse to visit with you and celebrate our excellent jackalness.

  21. 21
    HinTN says:

    @opiejeanne: We return via ferry from Victoria on 13 August and have all day the 14th in Seattle. What is a must see/do in your book?

  22. 22
    HinTN says:


    celebrate our excellent jackalness

    Perhaps the evening of 14 August? We’re staying downtown near the dock where the ferry arrives but can use Lyft to get somewhere.

  23. 23
    chris says:

    @John Cole: Thank you! I did not know that, this really is a full service blog.

  24. 24
    opiejeanne says:

    @HinTN: I think you need to let Adam or Anne Laurie know so they can boost the bat signal and we can figure something out. I am not familar enough with Seattle’s restaurants but Mike J is and several others know great places to eat.

  25. 25
    HinTN says:


    her raclette stand

    This blog never disappoints! I’ve learned something new about cheese!

  26. 26
    HinTN says:

    @opiejeanne: I’ll push on A&A

  27. 27
    JaySinWA says:

    You can safely can peaches with monk fruit extract instead of sugar? Wanders off to find a reliable food safety site… okay peaches are canned in sugar to preserve color, not for safety reasons. No info on Monk fruit sweetener at high temps.

  28. 28
    HinTN says:


    I’ll push on A&A

    Email sent. I told them they could share my email and phone with you.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HinTN: We have a 12 step plan for meet ups.//

  30. 30
    HinTN says:

    Looks up from the screen … Hey, the mountain is out! 💥

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HinTN: And I have sent you a series of smart assed replies.

    You’re welcome.

  32. 32
    HinTN says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m ready to take that first step.

  33. 33
    HinTN says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I adore Ernestine

  34. 34
    HinTN says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    You want me to do a post about a 14 AUG meetup or do the post on 14 AUG? Or both? Though that would seem awful last minute.

    Do you Army people understand the concept of pounding sand? // yourself

    I think I know the answer to the latter as well as you know the answer to the former.

  35. 35
    Dan B says:

    @opiejeanne: We used to go to eastern (actually central) Washington every August for peaches. The fruit stands around Peshastin had wonderful fruit, better than anything we ever got in Ohio or Arkansas. They used to sell Hales which are my favorite. It was a nice trip going over Stevens Pass.

    Some farmers markets get good fruit from the eastside but it can be iffy and pricey.

  36. 36
    opiejeanne says:

    @HinTN: The famous Sanitary Market at Pike Place. That’s the thing most people want to see at least once, and there are a lot of interesting little shops inside as well as the open air food market.
    The stools where Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner sat at the counter in Sleepless in Seattle is in The Athenian Inn inside the market. If you go you will want to find the “flying fish” guys who throw the fish around through the audience. Watch out for the monkfish!

    Across the street is Beecher’s cheese where they make cheese and you can watch while eating free samples. Lots of little food shops on that side of the street. There’s City Center where the Space Needle is, as well as MoPop, Museum of popular culture. It’s got all sorts of exhibits, sci-fi and horror film memorabilia (A Dalek!), a rock and roll exhibit, but check online to see what’s on the docket and to see if anything appeals to you. Last time we were there they had a fun exhibit of “clothing” most of which could not be worn by a human being.There was a bentwood dress.

    Down the hill behind the Pike Place market is the Aquarium, if that interests you. There is a very nice zoo, Woodland Park in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.

    Other people who know Seattle better should help you make a list.

  37. 37
    opiejeanne says:

    @HinTN: Rainier? It’s gorgeous and it’s a lot farther away than it looks. There are tours of Rainier that you can sign up for online.

  38. 38
    HinTN says:

    From the email admonition … Aye aye, sir. I leave it in your competent hands.

    opiejeanne – It’s on.

  39. 39

    @opiejeanne: The kid went up to Paradise year before last. The plan was to go to Columbia gorge, but it was on fire.

  40. 40
    opiejeanne says:

    @Dan B: Good to know. We went late in the season last fall for apples and the selection was kind of poor. We’re starting to get our own apples, Williams Pride is late July, but the first two have housed someone inside before they ripened, so we have to cut them open to be careful.

  41. 41

  42. 42
    HinTN says:

    @opiejeanne: I’ve been up there in another lifetime. Stayed at Longmire. Went up and skittered around on the glacier at Paradise when they had the snow plowed several feet high off the parking lot. It’s beautiful alright.

  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Mike Duncan @ mikeduncan
    People. Criticizing. You. On. Twitter. For. Writing. Obtuse. Columns. Is. Not. Like. The. French. Revolution. Please. Stop.

    This the third time in 3 weeks I’ve had to wrestle with hyper-entitled and emotionally thin-skinned columnists using their valuable intellectual real estate to evoke the French Revolution not on a matter of deep national concern but to wallow in an exaggerated persecution complex

    Mike Duncan is a history podcaster. I haven’t listened to Revolutions but it’s gotten great reviews. I’m relistening to his History of Rome these days. Also, this. I think I’m going to enjoy MoDo getting roasted over the next couple days.

    I stayed in the damn boat with The Dolphin Lady’s “Robespierre’s pronouns” thing. The third one is Brooks or Stephens?

  44. 44
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I remember. I hope that the rain we got this year has refilled the lower lakes that you pass on the way to Paradise. The last time we went we were shocked by how little water there was but that was at the end of the three year drought. We’ve had two very wet years since, but our tree guy says we’re still in a drought despite setting records for rainfall. It’s a pretty drive.

  45. 45

    @opiejeanne: She wants to go back, maybe the air quality will be a bit better, but this year she’s headed to Bali with her bff.

  46. 46
    normal liberal says:

    Congratulations on your successful peach campaign, and thank you for making me understand what I’ve been doing wrong when blanching (autocorrect wanted that to be “bleaching,” a concept I didn’t need) fruit to remove the peel. I have four peaches stem end down in a paper beg, and tomorrow I will know to quarter them to the pit before the boiling water to ice bath trick. Bless you.

    My grandmother used to stab tomatoes with one of those grandmother forks with the sharp tines, and then fire up a gas burner and roast the peel off of them. )No idea what happened to the tomatoes afterwards, although my mom used to can a really wonderful tomato jam.) This would be a useful technique were I not stuck with a horrible ceramic cooktop.

  47. 47
    Dan B says:

    @HinTN: From downtown Seattle when we are doing the local touristing we love the area from the Pike Place Market along the waterfront to the north at the Olympic Sculpture Park. The waterfront is touristy but the farther north is less so. There are a few decent restaurants where you can sit on a pier without breaking the bank. One is right where the huge cruise ships load. It’s a trip watching the tourists pop out onto their balconies as the get to their rooms – seven stories of balconies. Uphill from the park is Seattle Center (Space Needle – ignore). It’s grrat to people watch and wander around the fountain – big fountain + greensward. There are a few galleries and public art. The north side of The Center has playhouses, the ballet, and opera. The neighborhood just north and west of the playhouses has lots of restaurants. North of that is upscale Queen Anne hill with great views, better than the Space Noodle. On top is a quiet neighborhood with more restaurants and shops.

    There’s much more but depends on what you enjoy. Oh, also, the downtown library is amazing – probably the most exciting piece of architecture in the PNW. It’s ungainly outside but the interior is a knockout, especially the views of the interior from the upper floors.

  48. 48
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Air quality was a problem? Was she there in really hot weather?

  49. 49
    Mary G says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I razzed her on Twitter when the original photo came out, as well as the horrible Howard Fineman who posted it for namedropping purposes. They both whined, so now I’m trying to think of some more. They’ve been in their bubble so long; they deserve a dose of the real world.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    waratah says:

    John when I saw your lovely peaches I hoped they were not cling. I did not know the work involved the first time I bought a box of cling peaches. The next time I bought freestone.
    You just made super hero to me to do that many. My Home Economics teacher mother in law told me after, that cling are good for spiced peaches.
    I do not do much pickling but was looking up refrigerator pickles with squash and found some recipes for cherry tomatoes. I always seem too more than I can eat so I am going to try some soon. They said to to skewer through the tomatoes to get the flavor soaked in.
    Thank you for how to store them to ripen, all these years and I did know this.

  52. 52

    @Dan B: I like the view of The Mountain from UW.

  53. 53
    Dan B says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: The sleeper mountains of Washington are the North Cascades. It’s a drive but if you go through Darrington, a little town in the mountains, it’s very scenic. We sent some visitors over the North Cascades Highway on their way to the Canadian Rockies. They liked it so much they came back through. Said they liked it better than the Canadian Rockies. If you daughter can rent a sturdy car there is a fantastic hike to Cascade Pass. Look up images of the area.

  54. 54
    dww44 says:

    @J R in WV: Well, I might argue with you about your peaches being the best, since I live smack in the heart of the best peach producing area of my state whose name is synonymous with the fruit, albeit that our neighboring state to the east actually produces more peaches than do we. And who knows where California fits into the equation. No matter where grown, I love the smell of fresh peaches.

    So which state grows the best blueberries? A couple of years ago I was in my Kroger when blueberries from Michigan were available and another shopper, who apparently hails from that region, said that Michigan blueberries were the best. I bought some and they actually were quite good. Have looked in vain for Michigan blueberries the 2 seasons since and have spied nary a single container from the state..

  55. 55
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Oh, yes! We could hardly breathe. The fires that caused that horror were in Canada and we were stunned by how bad it was. We had fires in Washington to the east of us later on but the wind drove the smoke to the south and farther east. That was a really bad year for fires.

  56. 56
    HinTN says:

    @Dan B: I love public art. Chattanooga is making a real good start on having a fine environment of public art. These are good recommendations. Thanks

  57. 57
    HinTN says:

    Ok folks- Seattle meetup on 14 August to be publicized by adam and anne.

  58. 58
    jl says:

    @opiejeanne:Directions!? On the CA farm, we had cranky oldsters just show us how to do it. And we tried to copy. My efforts were fine. One cousin, very inept in the kitchen, and who tried to make up for that by seemingly random experimentation before new skills were on lock down and perfected (we tried to explain that was a bad approach to skill improvement but to no avail) made a batch that almost blew out a whole cupboard.

    My AK family was better at explaining and had more fun learning how to do home canning, pickling, making lots of yummy homemade butter and buttermilk and clotted cream up there. We made two kinds of butter. A sweet butter, and a sour butter from slightly soured milk. The sour butter had quite an aroma, and when I first sniffed it first time on the homestead up there, I wondered what they heck were they trying to do with that stuff. But, never tasted anything better on pancakes or waffles with birchbark syrup, or on freshly baked wholewheat, from freshly ground wheat, and baked in wood fired oven. After the homestead finally got on the local community gas line, I asked my aunt once why she still went to the trouble of cooking with a wood stove, and she answered that she wanted eat food that tasted good.

    Anyway, good luck to Cole with the canning. I love the pix. Makes me long for the farm in my memories. When I can put the memories of endless work out of my mind.

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @HinTN: He is not a god damned army people.

  60. 60
    joel hanes says:


    The best blueberries, like the best strawberries, are wild: small, sun-warmed, and picked by yourself.

    Take all the flavor from two of the best huge cultivated blueberries you’ve had, and cram it into a berry a quarter the size of one of them.

    We once discovered a rocky, treeless island in Brule Lake in the Boundary Waters that was covered in blueberry bushes, and half-filled our hats with what we could pick, and ate too-many-blueberry pancakes for two days thereafter.

  61. 61
    opiejeanne says:

    @jl: Yeah, directions. I didn’t have anyone to teach me so I got a book and everything came out perfect from the very first time I tried canning. I gave it up for a while, freezing some stuff instead, and eating up everything else. My husband makes a killer marinara sauce every years because we always, ALWAYS grow too many to just eat, and we freeze the sauce in ziplock bags, approximate two quarts in each gallon bag. We force out as much air as we can, then freeze them lying flat. They stack nicely after they’re frozen.

  62. 62
    Cowgirl in the Sandi says:

    I live in Brentwood CA (East Bay – not the OJ Brentwood). It’s a BIG agricultural area and the peaches and other stone fruits are just appearing in the farm stands along with corn and heirloom tomatoes. MMMMMM Summer is the best time for fresh fruit and veg here (even though tomorrow it’s supposed to be 105! ARRGHH!!

  63. 63
    jl says:

    @joel hanes: Most farm blueberries, especially as you get to the southern growing areas where the new varieties give crops, have a slightly vegatative quality to them. Not all, but most of them I’ve bought in stores or farmers markets do. Really good strawberries are easier to find at farmers markets. At least in Northern California.

    One bit of good news around here is that, finally, after the drought over, I see some of the dry farm fruit is coming back I was afraid that the local dry farm orchards where killed off in the drought. Got some excellent dry farm Blenheim apricots a few weeks ago. They were great.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @HinTN: Pilgrimage to the Crocodile?

  65. 65
    opiejeanne says:

    @joel hanes: Are there still wild blueberries in Maine? We see blueberries from Oregon a lot here in the PNW but I don’t know if they’re really great. The birds get ours, a mere handful every year so far.

  66. 66
    jl says:

    @Cowgirl in the Sandi: Some great produce around Brentwood. West side of Brentwood is like splurbbed out suburb of Bay Area, East side is like Central Valley. Get a totally different vibe driving in from east versus from west.

    Someone told me that the town is kind of split and eastern half has limitations on development to protect the small farm agriculture around there. I don’t know the details or even how true that is. Quick skim of wiki entry on it doesn’t say anything. But a lot of the wiki sounds like some old time local just got on and rambled aimlessly about local attractions and establishments, and notable farmers and small businesses.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @opiejeanne: You can find them all over in WI. I do not have and never have had the patience to try to fill a bucket with bb sized blueberries. My dad used to go with his dad and now he goes with his grandson (my nephew). They are fucking nuts.

  68. 68
    opiejeanne says:

    @jl: I know your Brentwood from when we lived in Castro Valley. I had to drive my older daughter up to that area periodically.
    I remember seeing lots of fruit stands around Sacramento years ago. On back roads, honor stands.
    When we lived in Anaheim, up until 2010, there were strawberry stands next to fields of them all over the place, and they usually had a few other things besides the berries, like huge onions and artichokes. They grew those at the ends of the strawberry rows. The favorite one was on LaPalma past State College. When we would drive north on the 101 the aroma of strawberries in Ventura county was amazing. In our Seattle area stores we’re seeing berries that claim to be from. San Diego, but that does not compute and they’re way too early. I suspect that they’re only packaged in the clamshells in San Diego. They’re mostly flavorless things and we’re disappointed when we buy them.

    We are still seeing cherries in the stores just outside Seattle, and they claim to be Washington grown. It’s nearly August. I’m wondering what kind of cherry produces this late.

  69. 69
    joel hanes says:


    Are there still wild blueberries in Maine?

    Dunno; haven’t ever been there (yet).
    Purely guessing that the answer is yes; it’s the right kind of terrain and climate.

    I live in NoCal; the island covered with blueberries was in northernmost Minnesota.

  70. 70
    opiejeanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: They’d have to be damned good berries for me to do it, but some kids love to do that. We had ours picking wild blackberries on a trip from Riverside, CA to Seattle. The younger daughter was still in diapers. We got a surprise.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @joel hanes: You can always find them on Isle Royale. Or could. I haven’t been back for a while.

  72. 72
    jl says:

    @opiejeanne: I have a number of friends and ex students out that way. and know that drive and beautiful aroma well.

    It’s west of Simi Valley, where that BillinGlendaleCA guy lies about not coming from.

  73. 73
    opiejeanne says:

    @joel hanes: I looked up the Barrier Waters, as I wasn’t familiar with where that was, exactly.

    There’s a children’s book called Blueberries For Sal. It’s printed in ink about the color of ripe blueberries, pictures and words. I think it was set in Maine. It’s a bit of an adventure for Sal and the others in the story.

  74. 74
    opiejeanne says:

    @jl: Quite a bit west of Simi Valley.

  75. 75
    jl says:

    @opiejeanne: Sure. Nice to drive out to Ventura and then head north stopping at random produce stands and sampling. And make some side trips into the hills and sample their fare. Avocados, citrus, custard apples. All sorts of good stuff in that area.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @opiejeanne: I am willing to pick wild raspberries and blackberries as long is it is understood that I will eat at least as many as I put into the container. I am not heavily recruited for these sorts of missions. I also don’t fish. When at the cabin, I am most likely to wander through the woods in search of bears and/or wolves. And I can split wood.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: ” as long is it is understood that I will eat at least as many as I put into the container. ”

    I thought that goes without saying. It is understood. UN human rights resolution about it, IIRC.

  78. 78
    JaySinWA says:

    @HinTN: You should of course find an Ivar’s fish bar for the real Seattle experience. Pier 54 may still do the trick. A Fish and Chips with a cup of Red chowder is my go to.

  79. 79

    @jl: It’s due west of TO where I grew up. My dad’s commute took him though those fields.

    ETA: Southwest of Simi Valley, for the geographically challenged jl.

  80. 80
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: To be candid, you seem more like a wild ass out of the Topatopa Mountains boondocks. I try to be indirect and polite about it, though. That’s the area my cultivated and civilized connections down there call CHUD land.

  81. 81

    @jl: You know I have paper to prove where I’m from. Obviously they don’t teach geography out on the farm.

    ETA: Have any of your “cultivated and civilized connections” ever been to Jungleland?

  82. 82
    Jager says:

    My old man said my grandmother’s secret to canning was the old undershirt of grandpa’s she wrapped around her head to keep the sweat out her eyes as toiled in the overheated kitchen. Damn her “Raggetty Ann” peaches were good.

  83. 83
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: No, we stick to high class destinations. Corriganville, Arroyo Simi Greenway, for example. You probably never seen them. Be surprised if they let your type in..

  84. 84
    rikyrah says:

    The peaches look delicious 😋😋, Cole .

    Where is the peach cobbler 🤗🤗

  85. 85
    SectionH says:

    @J R in WV:

    I’ll argue with J R about where the best peaches come from, although, sadly, it might be came from. And that’s Southern Illinois. Oh, yeah, roadside stands everywhere, and and just unbelievable peaches. Now, my grandparents and aunt who lived there (my mother and one aunt had moved to St. Louis and Boston by then) also swore that the best cantaloupe was grown in Poseyville, IN. And they would drive all that way at least once a summer to buy melons. They were always very good, but not to my palate much better than our local ones. Or some of the “tuscan” melons I’ve bought in North County San Diego.

    California peaches are mostly awful. And I include most of the Farmers’ Market ones I’ve checked out. We have so much wonderful local fruit around here, it seems petty to complain, but I so miss really good peaches. (I did luck out at the fruit stand at the 78 and San Pasquel Valley Rd. in Escondido once with nectarines. Best nectarines I’ve ever eaten – one white and one “red”. Went back the next day, but they were gone.)

  86. 86

    @jl: Nah, I stuck with Paradise Falls and the Stagecoach Inn.

    ETA: Jungleland closed 50 years ago, I think next month.

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    ola azul says:

    @joel hanes:

    Northernmost MN? D’you mean Angle Inlet, that little cartographical blip at the top of MN that spikes above the 49th parallel? When I was a boy, worked there two summers taking fisherfolk and tourists out to the islands (Flag, Oak, Center) — glorified taxi driving basically. ‘Member wild rice distinctly, harvested in canoes with sticks, but don’t recall the blueberries (my loss).

    Best blueberries I ever had were wild in Alaska. Shot a blacktail deer atop an alpine muskeg, schlepped it down mountain (hadda brown bear, young and curious, show some mild interest in my doings, but not so very much as to challenge me, thankfull — woulda give it up, course, if it come to that ; we likes to sez you’re an open-face sandwich to bears when “bearing” a deer in the wild), and at base of mountain near skiff was an inviting patch of wild blueberries. Hot and tired and relieved, them’s was the best blueberries I ever had. Stained hands and maw purple.

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    SectionH says:

    @opiejeanne: I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever seen local (at least certified) farmers selling their own blueberries. Mr S says he thinks there’s one variety that is grown here, called “Escondido” that is a thing. It seems highly unlikely you’re seeing those in a big grocery store in WA.

    We generally buy the Driscoll brand that’s everywhere. I know, but best of commercial lot? I’m not a blueberry snob (I am snob about some things, peaches and cider for instance) I’ve never had that OMG moment with blueberries. I do need to check out the Esco ones RSN.

    Ok, Goggling Escondido Blueberries gets hits from pick-your-own places on Yelp, to the SD Master Gardener site, Temecula Berry Company, and a CSA (that’s the good kind) in Fallbrook.

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    normal liberal says:

    Amen to southern Illinois peaches. To get them around here, about 175 miles to the north, you have to stake out farmers markets and be ruthless with other would-be peach buyers.

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    joel hanes says:

    D’you mean Angle Inlet, that little cartographical blip at the top of MN that spikes above the 49th parallel

    Nah, that’s Saganaga Lake, about 25 miles NNW of where we were on Brule Lake. No motorboats allowed on Brule; they’re allowed on the border lakes. (For this audience, I’d call the entire Arrowhead “northernmost Minnesota”. )

    I canoed through Saganaga several times in my youth. The last time was in 1973, the September before I got drafted. We camped for two days on, I think, Big Toe Island, which then had a climax stand of 80 to 100 foot white pine, widely spaced. Awe-inspiring, almost like a temple, and the smell and the sound of the wind in the treetops …
    too bad it was 43 degrees and drizzling, but you can’t have everything.

  91. 91
    joel hanes says:

    ola azul:

    Can’t get the fershlugginer comment editor to work, so I can’t correct my previous.

    I zoomed out the map, and saw that I was way off.
    You were in Lake of the Woods, 125 miles WNW of Brule Lake, which is in the arrowhead north of Lake Superior.

  92. 92
    SectionH says:

    @normal liberal: Well, good luck scoring the bestest. I wonder if there are any actual locally-owned oufits now. At least it sounds like there’s still some quality there.

    My aunt and uncle – both profs at SIU then – bought 60 acres south of Carbondale in the early ’60s. And that house was at the ass-end of a gravel road. Most of the land on the other side of the road was a peach orchard. I know that lot didn’t have a stand. What they had was migrant workers, who were housed on the same gravel road. Y’know what? We thought they weren’t treated very well, but we so not afraid of them.

    We bought from the same family stands – and my Nanna was very picky – that they’d bought from for years. I still have one of their half-peck cardboard boxes with the metal handle. It says

    “McGuier’s Fruit Farm” [quotes on the box, lol]
    8 miles South
    Carbondale, Ill. on U.S. 51

    My aunt (the one who went to Boston) still had it. She kept nails and wire and stuff in it. I inherited it from her in 2013 when she died, and love it much more than a whole lot of valuable stuff in our house. Although I still keep the same kind of stuff in it that she did.

    It was what you did those boxes, well our family anyway.

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    ola azul says:

    @joel hanes:

    Very cool. Izzat Voyageur’s Nat. Park? (Or Quetico on Canckistani side?) Allus wanted to slip the water-mule in there and jump onna adventure, never got around to making time.

    Purty country.

    Hear you re: white pines. Gotta similar reax. ‘Member the JC went to before packing bags to UuvM hadda campus fillt with stately white pines; northern Mich. usedta be filled with ’em before the logging boom in the 19th Century (gotta rebuild Chicago after fire!).

    Been to a lotta cathedrals in Europe but ain’t never had a better feeling of grandeur and awe than being enveloped by majestic white pines.

  94. 94
    CaseyL says:

    I’m not a blueberry connoisseur, but the best I ever had were when I was up in Maine a few years ago. Tiny and the flavor was to die for. If anyone knows where to get that kind of blueberry in the Seattle area, please tell me!

  95. 95
    opiejeanne says:

    @SectionH: Sorry, I was unclear. It’s strawberries claiming to be from San Diego, and I’m not buying it because they showed up way too early, like February. I think they’re refugee strawberries, smuggled in from Mexico

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    Ruckus says:

    I found some rather small blueberries – they are dried and at Vons/Albertsons/Safeway markets.
    I put them in salads and mix them with cashews for a snack. I think they are great. However.
    I have zero sense of smell and pretty close to maybe 15-20% sense of taste left so my word isn’t worth much in this area.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Tiny and the flavor was to die for.

    They sound like wild blueberries.

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    Martin says:

    @opiejeanne: Nah, we have strawberries in Feb. They just need to cover them to protect from a bit of cold. San Diego is a touch milder so even easier to grow them there.

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    Aleta says:

    @ola azul: never had a better feeling of grandeur and awe than being enveloped by majestic white pines

    Underneath the Pines, Kallet, Epstein and Cicone (by David Dodson)

  100. 100
    Sab says:

    @Martin: Wow. Strawberries in Feb. In NE Ohio we don’t have strawberries until late June. Chipmunk this year kept hoping she would like them, picked random berries, tasted them, spit them out and dumped them. Grr.

    We scheduled our goat rental for August. Unfortunately they will arrive early August, so they will eat the blackberry thicket before it has ripe berries. But the clearing must be done because the blackberry bushes are taking over the yard.

    Extremely shy border collie moved in next door. I cannot wait to see her reaction to goats bigger than she is eating her plants.

  101. 101
    SectionH says:

    @opiejeanne: No worries. Your comment made me learn about Escondido blueberries. How cool is that?

    We can has strawberries that early sometimes, but the best ones do usually come a bit later. I can’t imagine that most of the local farmers sell their stuff to show up in WA. Our go-to guy at North Park FM (Thursday – he also sells at our closest market, Hillcrest on Sunday, but everybody jacks their prices up for that one, so we almost never shop there) farms up around Carlsbad. He’s an older Japanese-American guy, and wonder if his family was able to keep hold of their farm somehow in WW2 or if they were able to get a different piece of land, but they’ve been where they are for decades, and most of their produce is great. If you like Farmers’ Markets, you get to know the real farmers.

    IDK, maybe it was such a bumper crop some clever guy did a thing – I do know we bought a lot of very ripe strawberries from Mr K a few months ago. They were unbelievably good.

    San Diego County has more actual individual farms than any other county in the entire US. 5000. (Last stat I remember was 4000, but ok). And oh yeah, there are multiple FMs every day of the week here. And I’m not close to checking all of them.

  102. 102
    Aleta says:

    @CaseyL: Wyman’s of Maine website says their bags of frozen wild blueberries (from fields and growers in Maine, Nova Scotia, NB) are sold in Seattle at 2 Wh. Foods and at a Seattle coop.

    My partner’s daughter manages the fresh market raking for her mother’s 500 acre barren off in the wilds. We buy boxes of frozen directly from that grower, but right now i also have some Wyman’s in the freezer, for on cereal and drinks. (Wild bberry growers rake for threee diff markets, fresh, frozen and processing like jam. Actually now a 4th market, delivering to some wineries.)

    Wild berries get frozen whole right after picking, so the quality is good and the taste is there, even though it’s not like picking the really tiny ones off the bush in the heat. The sweetness depends on a lot of variables, like at what point the rain falls in June-July, etc. Most wild growers do things to get bigger harvests (burn, spray for insects, etc) , but the the berry type is the same, and their fields are on the same very poor soil or granite. It’s called wild because they are not planted and the roots spread on their own.

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    debbie says:

    I just wish people would start growing black raspberries again. They’re so hard to find.

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    Kattails says:

    John, congrats, they look gorgeous. You will be so happy this winter. Pickled spiced peaches are good. Also peach upside-down cake done in a cast-iron skillet. And raspberry-peach sauce: puree raspberries in a blender, strain out the seeds, mix with water and sugar, a bit of corn syrup, some lemon juice if needed. Cook this down for a few minutes. Peel your peaches, halve or chop them, warm them with the raspberry syrup, can. Look so beautiful and great with ice cream or pound cake or both together.
    I never quarter my peaches, but am using freestones, I just put them whole in a water bath for a couple of minutes, drop into ice water, and then use a paring knife to slip the skins off. The fruit absolutely must be ripe and fragrant. I am lucky to have a local orchard close by with a huge variety of apples, peaches, quince even, and a variety of blueberries. There is a berry farm a bit further away which has, in addition to the usual suspects, gooseberries, black and red currants, and black raspberries. I picked an insane amount of fruit there one year and it was quite a race to get it all put up before it got too squishy.
    Do not neglect crabapples for jelly, they are nice and tart and make a very pretty pink jelly, add a tiny bit of cinnamon and nutmeg & it will taste like apple pie and makes a great glaze. Melt a little with garlic and tarragon and glaze carrots.
    @opiejeanne: Most certainly, and here in NH, they like acid soils. South Jersey grows fantastic fruit as well, excellent peaches, and we can get decent local peaches here most years. The UNH agricultural extension service does a lot of work on cold climate fruit. The book you referred to earlier is put out by Ball, one of the predominant makers of canning products. It has recipes for water bath and pressure canning, freezing, and drying. Very helpful, clear, lots of good recipes.

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    donnah says:

    Based on John’s amazing productivity, I’m considering stock in Mason Jars.

  106. 106
    opiejeanne says:

    @Martin: I’m aware of San Diego’s climate but I’ve never gotten strawberries in the stores that early.

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    Cowgirl in the Sandi says:

    @jl: Yes, there is a line in Brentwood to protect local Ag although some developers are trying to get more houses built. Brentwood area is one of the few places left near enough to San Francisco and Silicon Valley that has buildable land and lower (relative) prices. But folks feel pretty strongly about preserving the land.

    On another peach topic; about 25 years ago we were driving to Aspen/Snowmass Colorado for a conference and stopped at a farm stand on the way. They had the BEST, most fuzzy peaches I have ever had. We stopped there the next year too – same peaches. Hope they are still there.

    This has been such a nice thread.

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