Saturday, August 24, 2013

Putting Up the Harvest - Peaches

Got a half-bushel of peaches last Sunday and have been processing them all week. The photo to the left shows the last of the strawberries as I made strawberry leather - you know those fruit roll-ups that you get at the store... Cooked the strawberries down for about ten minutes to soften them, added a bit of sugar and blended them with the immersion blender. I set the oven to its lowest setting and poured the strawberry goo on a couple of half sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Let them dry for a few hours and checked the results. For my first time, I was half successful, getting about half of the sheets to work. The other half was too crispy and tasted burnt. I think the next batch will go into the dehydrator.

Meanwhile with the peaches, I got busy with canning slices, making and canning ginger peach jam, dehydrating a  bunch and made a giant peach crisp for the open house. I think for canning I used every bowl in the pantry - One for the peaches, another for the cold water bath, another for the lids, one for the anti-browning solution - whew it takes a bit of organization to do canning but it is getting easier for me as I do more batches. The ginger-peach jam has been a hit at the market and I'll have to do more , this time with fresh ginger for a spicy kick. I think I'll get another half bushel as I go through canned peaches like crazy in the winter...

This week I think I'll try to find a flat of blueberries for some more blueberry jam as I have had requests for it. Raspberries seem to be precious this year and people have been asking for it, but I think I may have to wait until the raspberries start bearing locally and in quantity.
The only drawback about canning is that it heats up and steams the house so much that the goo on the walls drips down and makes a mess of the house. I don't mind it but people who visit have commented...

For info on canning check out a blog called Food in Jars - I love her unique recipes and have gotten a lot of great tips from the site. Of course the USDA site - (just google canning and USDA) gives you all the lowdown on both water bath and pressure canning. Just got a copy of the Ball Blue Book which is the 'bible' on canning for recipes and tips and splurged on a lovely book called "Saving the Season" - well written with lots of tips on techniques.

If you have never tried canning before, I encourage you to give it a try - there's nothing like eating your own homegrown or fresh, farmers market produce during the cold months of winter. Tomato season will be coming soon in September and I need to put up twice as many jars as last year as I ran out too soon. However, I am proud that I didn't buy any canned tomatoes all winter! Homemade canned goods make great hostess and Christmas gifts and I'm in the process of putting up jams for sale at the markets.

Joining Tootsie Time for her Fertilizer Friday party where you can view other gardeners blogs from all around the world. Enjoy the garden - the summer season is fleeting.

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