When life hands you peaches….

It felt like I spent all weekend dealing with produce. Friday, it was corn, beans and peaches. Saturday, it was tomatoes, tomatillos, and zucchini. Sunday, it was more peaches in the form of a good half bushel that landed on my front porch from a friend and then a nice pot of gumbo to use up whatever produce was left sitting in my fridge after the weekend’s work.
Since both freezers are close to full, I realized I was going to have to fire up the canner. My last attempt at canning involved tomatoes and while the first batch turned out okay, the next two batches had a jar explode both times, so I took a step back and wondered if I really do know what I’m doing when it comes to canning. Admittedly, not really. It’s like everything else I do, I just jump in and go for it and when I make a mistake, I try to learn from it.

These peaches were definitely seconds and free to me, so I couldn’t complain, but after spending a few solid hours chopping and cooking and preserving the two days previously, I just wasn’t in the mood for more, you know? But, certain members of my family love peaches and heck, they were free, this way I don’t have to go pick them or pay gobs of money for someone else to pick them, right? So, after the house cleared out (People seem to love to come visit us, not sure if it’s the location, the food or the company, but we have definitely been running a small B&B lately.) I got to work Sunday afternoon, dealing with the peaches.

I peel them by dropping them in hot water for a few minutes, then cold water. Last summer, I came up with a new trick of using a cooler to submerge them in cold water and then that frees up my big bowls for the chopping part. I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried this before.

Just in the nick of time, our Sunday night company arrived, one of whom has lots of experience in the arts of preserving food, and he most gratefully jumped in and lent a hand to the gumbo process so I could finish getting the peaches put up. The first round went beautifully, but the second round? A jar exploded. I had taken the time and inspected each jar this go round, and for the life of me am just so confounded by this problem. Really? Three times in a row? My canning partner suggested that the water was TOO hot, that I should just cool the water down a bit and start over. Which I did and the second batch turned out beautifully too. I am now reminded why I like to can with someone else and someone that I haven’t taught to can – because I’m still learning too. My confidence is restored in my ability to can. I’m ready for the next round…..I was reminded the other day I do make some mean Pickled Green Beans. That might be next up.

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