Peach Canning Adventure

canned peachesI love to can peaches!  In fact, I love to can most anything!  “Can, can, can you do the can can?” goes through my head this time of the year constantly… and gets stuck up in there bouncing around and driving me crazy.  Canning is one of the reasons I haven’t post in two weeks.  I find it very hard to do everything I want to.  So I’ve decided I will do only a few things and do them well.  And choosing which ones need to be quality work and which (like “folded” towels) are not so much quality… more quantity!  But carrying out that objective when you add all the very basic household responsibilities is a very heavy load.  Expectations of your home and yourself have to change.  I am my biggest critique.  But being a gentle, not lazy, but gentle critique helps me not get too tired or too worked up when the To-Do list gets long.  Fruit flies are my nemesis!  Jars and rings are my game!  I am Julie… hear me…  hum.   “Can, can, can you do the can can?”

It’s just a season!

I was hoping to show you all the in’s and out’s of canning but I’ve found I’m not a very meticulous canner.  So I’ll show you my strategy in a very tiny kitchen.  What’s worked over the years and what hasn’t.  How you can involve your kids but still get work done around them.  I’ve researched a couple gals that I feel do a wonderful job.  This gal and this gal, who’s a new canner, and this article on canning without sugar, are all a similar approach to how I’ve canned for years.

And it’s very simple even if you’ve never boiled a jar before.  Start with a small batch of 6 or 7 jars.  Don’t try and do it all but start small.  Especially if you have babies.  Back when my kiddos were babies, I would pace myself and do two batches.  The next day do two batches.  And then the next… ’till the fruit was all done.  It did require more clean up time but I felt it was less stressful and therefore less of a difficult impact on the home and my very patient husband.

utensils for blanchingThe night before, stash your dishwasher with jars, rings and lids so they’re all washed and ready to go the next day.  In this photo I have as many pots as I can to get the peaches going.  You need to pull the skins off with the hot water, then plunge into your cold water so it stops the cooking process.  As you get more peaches done, the process can slow down (especially if you’re boiling the jars and not using a pressure canner).  So as the process slows down I remove a pan or two, to free up the other burner for the big water canner or pressure canner.  The slotted spoon helps with the removing of hot peaches from hot water and I use it to plunge the peaches in the hot water so I won’t burn my hands from the splash.

box of peaches to canI’ll set the box of peaches up close with a tall chair.  My sink is across the kitchen, so this square is my sacred space.  That’s why God made baby gates!  I’ll put a rug down between the oven and sink to help with the water spillage so no one slips and it’s really easy to throw in the wash afterwards.

kids can help canI set my older helpers up at the sink with hair pulled back and aprons on.  Keep them up high so the juices don’t run down their arms too much and get them all wet.  We watch something simple, like Fiddler on the Roof, and they go to town pulling the peach skins off.  It’s really a very soothing process and something my little girls love to help with.  I take the peeled peaches, slice them up and straight into the jars.  I’ll put about 2 Tbs of sugar in each jar, 1/4 vanilla bean, fill with peach slices, pour hot water to fill, slide my lid and ring on and set aside to boil.  Once boiled, they get stacked in a safe place to set up for 24 hrs.  That “pop” of the pressured lid is the only thing that breaks up my “can can” song.  Happy feelings!!

Strawberry Banana Bread

strawberry banana bread

In preparation for a house full of kids, I prepared some strawberry banana bread.  My girlfriend had asked me to watch her kids for her the whole next day.  This was gone before 2 pm along with many many compliments from busy little kids.

Strawberry Banana Bread:

  • 3 lg eggs
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs cinnamon

Mix batter together and pour into greased large loaf pan.

Mix together

  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

Drizzle on top and swirl into batter in loaf pan.

Bake 350F for 1 hour.  Place a pan underneath as mine spilled over the top just a bit while baking.