Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer Fruit Fun – Just Peachy!

I’m about to exhibit my inner computer geek - forgive me if this starts to sound like gibberish – I’ll circle back to real people speak as soon as possible…

You know how when you play a Role Playing Game (RPG) on your computer, you complete a task and your character goes up a level? And if you have a really cool character, you get to maybe learn more magic spells or something? Well, today I feel as though I went up a level and learned a new spell.

The magical skill of canning.

You may recall that, late last week, on a grocery shopping expedition, I picked up a case of freestone Okanagan peaches.  I expressed a desire to can them, but lacking the appropriate supplies for actual canning, I planned to process and freeze them instead. I should also mention here that I have never actually canned anything either, so this was really also going to be a major learning experience for me!

One of my girlfriends scored massive karma cookies this week – she sent me a note almost immediately telling me that she and her husband have canning supplies and jars and, if I wanted them, I could happily borrow.  Woo Hoo! Linden and I went out for lunch yesterday and as promised, she had a big Tupperware container filled with jars and canning paraphernalia as well as a second box of jars (all I needed to get my hands on were some snap lids) for me to borrow.

Home last night, I read and read and read (I have never actually canned anything before) and then proceeded to wash and sterilize the jars in readiness for today’s project – processing and canning peaches.

This morning after I finished breakfast, I got things laid out and got started.  I processed the peaches in stages – so instead of blanching and then peeling and slicing all of them, then loading the jars, then capping and processing them, I worked with smaller groupings so as not to overwhelm myself (or my kitchen!) and worked three peaches at a time.

Blanch, peel, slice, lemon juice bath, into jars, add sugar and pot liquor (not syrup) and once I had 5 jars ready to go, into the canner for 20 minutes.  Next set and so on.  The end result is 14 jars of varying sizes – each and every one of them sealed too!!

Peaches - all done & ready to store for winter!
Many of the sites I read spoke about making a sugar and fruit juice syrup for the peaches – I didn’t go that route – Mum told me that I should use the pot liquor from blanching them, and so that is what I did.  In the long run I think I used less sugar overall, but the proof will out when I actually open a jar and taste them!

For now, I’m pretty proud of myself – like I said, it feels like I have gained a level of knowledge – and even cooler, now having processed something, I am looking forward to what I will be looking at canning next – pears and apples from my very own trees as well as jam from my plums (when I get around to getting more jars, snap lids and so on) and who knows what else if I see fresh local fruit, cheaply obtained!

With love across the waters,

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