Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Against the clock
What sort of crazy person goes out and buy 2 bushel of peaches two weeks before she is due with her fourth child?
One who belongs in some sort of institution, if you ask me.
That crazy woman was me-and those peaches were delivered on Sunday evening.
Firsts were $25.00 a bushel, seconds were $15.00 but there were no seconds left when I got there. Pretty hefty price considering what I paid last year. (And between you and me, I am not so very impressed with the "firsts" either. About 5-7 peaches were so moldy I had to feed them to the chickens~not even a BIT was salvageable. Many more were bruised. Not something I want to see in "firsts" or pay for with "firsts" pricing.) I want peach trees in the worst way.
Since those peaches arrived, I feel like I am racing against time here. So much that MUST be done before Smooch gets here, because who is going to want to take care of peaches one day postpartum? Ummmm...not I.
This is not to forget about the brimming bowlful of tomatoes just harvested, the half a dozen or so huge zucchini waiting to be shredded and frozen, and the basketful of cucumbers that were harvested at the very moment I *thought* I had (finally) finished up the pickling!
I am not complaining. Truly, I am not. Just wondering how I can get it all done in time without killing myself, is all. :-) BEFORE they go bad, and BEFORE Smooch arrives.
Yesterday I sorted all four half bushel boxes of peaches into "tragically bruised", "somewhat bruised", "perfectly ripened" and "still a wee bit hard".
The "still a wee bit hard" peaches were put carefully into the fridge (which required cleaning it out until it was half empty) awaiting when I could get to them. Thank you, peaches, for giving me an extra day or two!
The "tragically bruised" I immediately pulverized into Smoothie cubes (peach pulp frozen in ice cube trays). They will make delicious fresh fruit smoothies and ice cream when peaches aren't in season!
The "somewhat bruised" peaches I peeled and froze in slices, for use in pies, crumbles, and cakes this winter. Yum-o.
The "perfectly ripened" I began to can. By the time I couldn't take it anymore, I had canned 18 quarts. Then of course, there was the clean-up. I ate supper, exhausted, at 8:30pm!
That took care of about 1 bushel.
Still another bushel to take care of. Plans?
Use 'em fresh. Been eating 'em daily. MUST have a peach and blueberry crumble sometime. Tomorrow, we will have peaches and cream pancakes. Been loving Smoothies too.
Dehydrate some. (Peach oatmeal this winter anyone?)
and MAYBE more canning. Thinking about a few preserves, but maybe I'll just do more peaches in light syrup.
And another batch of Peach Honey is in order. Go here for instructions! The great thing about this is that you can freeze your peach skins until cool weather arrives (or a less hectic time in your life) and make it/can it THEN. It's good stuff.
A hint for canning peaches: All the books say they need to be canned for 15-20 minutes. I have it on good authority that the best way to can peaches so that the peaches are not MUSHY and gross is to bring the canner back to a rolling boil and set the timer for 6 minutes. Then, place the jars upside down on the counter until cooled. I tried it and they sealed perfectly and look lovely and intact...can't wait to try them!