Mon., July 9, 2018
Amos 8:1– This is what the Lord God showed me: a basket of summer fruit.
A basket, or really a box, of summer fruit made it to my house this week. A box of beautiful Georgia peaches.
I live in Wisconsin. This past week, a semi-truck full of Georgia peaches and pecans stopped in a neighboring town for an hour. Since I was already in town, I bought a box of peaches.
The kind woman who sold them to me asked, “You’ve bought from us before, right?” I felt like I was the only person in the rather long line who was a newbie to buying peaches from this semi in the greenhouse parking lot. While she gave me a slip of paper with instructions, she reiterated what the paper said out loud. Take the box home, put the peaches on a counter or table and let them ripen for a few days before using them. Then, they can be refrigerated but not before.
I followed her instructions to the tee. I laid a towel on our buffet and carefully placed every peach on the towel. Then I waited. Every day as I walked by, I pinched one of the peaches to see if they were softening. By Friday night, they were ripe.
I awoke early Saturday morning and realized I had no sugar in the house. (Part of my plan to reduce my sugar intake is not to have sugar in the house. And, I didn’t.) I waited until the grocery store opened and zipped over to get some. Once home, I began the process of canning peaches.
It has been awhile since I’ve canned peaches. While I can and freeze every summer, I just haven’t canned these orange-maroon tinted globes for a while. Betty Crocker helped me remember just how long I should blanch them and a couple other hints I found helpful. In the end, I basically canned them just like my Mom canned peaches. She would buy a couple boxes of peaches each summer. As a youth, my sisters and I formed an assembly line and helped can them.
I prepared a hot water bath to blanch the peaches. Here are some ready to go into the boiling water.
One tricky spot is letting the peaches blanch long enough to easily slide the skin off easily without over cooking them. About a minute worked best for me.
As soon as I removed the blanched peaches, I put them into a sink filled with cold water. Let them cool before trying to remove the skin. Patience here means the skins come of easier.
Then, cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. While I longed to have these picture-perfect half-moon rounds of peach every time, the reality is much different. It isn’t very easy. Most of these peaches were so large, half of a peach did not slip easily into a freshly-cleaned jar for processing. The quartered peaches fit better.
The peaches should be pit-side down in the jar. Fill the jar with a sugar-water syrup. I used a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. Some people like a sweeter syrup. I prefer a more natural peach taste.
Once the lids are tightly attached to the jar with a ring, processed the jars in a hot water bath. For the quart jars, I processed them 30 minutes. The pint jars were processed for 25 minutes. Let the jars cool before moving them far.
I was processing the last batch of jars when Hubby Rick asked if I had made a peach cobbler as well. I assured him it was in the oven. We shared it with friends at a potluck that night. It was fantastic.
In sharing with people that I canned peaches over the weekend, I have heard this comment more than once: “People still can?” Yes, we do. I am not a master-canner. I do not can as much as my Mom nor my Grandmothers did. But I love to continue this family tradition. I often give home-canned items for presents and pray the contents bless the people I share them with.
We haven’t cracked open a jar of the canned peaches yet. I’ll wait for a cool fall day when we can enjoy another fantastic peach cobbler with guests. Seriously, aren’t the peaches just so pretty in the jars?
For wonderful peaches, one of the fruits of God’s kingdom, I am grateful.
As summer fruit comes into season, may we celebrate the unique and special care You took for everything created in this world. May the sweetness of the peaches point me back to the sweetness of Your kingdom. Amen.
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