The children and I were blessed to be able to make the long drive to Pennsylvania to spend two weeks there. We spent a week at church camp where we were refreshed spiritually through worship and the Word. We then went to my parents’ house where there was plenty of time to play at Grandma and Grandpa’s and with cousins.
Part of the plan was for my mother and I to can peaches while we were there. The area where I grew up is blessed with many orchards and farms. As a child, I certainly took for granted all the delicious local fruit and produce that was available. With the late spring this year, we were not sure that the Sunhigh peaches we normally can would be available in time. When a generous man from the church found out we were looking for peaches, he offered for us to come pick at his farm. He had not got around to thinning his peaches, so he could not sell them.
Fairly early Monday morning, we set out to pick peaches. I had picked apples and cherries, but I do not think I had ever picked peaches. After an hour, we had a little over five bushels of peaches. The smell of a fresh ripe peach is exquisite and the taste is so delicious. We all enjoyed a taste in the orchard before heading home.
Every morning found my mother and I, and sometimes a little helper, working on peaches. As a child, I remember canning peaches with my grandmother and mother and sometimes another relative. My favorite thing to do was eat the skin that was peeled from the peaches. I had to chuckle as my children slipped peach peels from my pan. We canned over 90 quarts that week. Our families will enjoy the bounty all winter.
I have been asked about how to can peaches, so here is my method. Wash peaches. Cut peach in half, remove seed, and peel each half. Slice peaches and put in quart jars. Shake jar as you go to settle peaches. Fill jar to top. Fill jar with syrup until it reaches the bottom of the neck. (The syrup recipe I use is very light: 1/2 cup of honey or 1 cup of sugar to 10 cups of water. You can make it sweeter if you like.) Make sure the rim of the jar is clean. Place jar flat on jar and tighten ring. Fill a boiling water bath canner with jars of peaches and water. Bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn heat back to low for 20 minutes. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool overnight before removing rings. This is one way to can peaches, but one thing I have learned through the years of working with various people is that everyone has a different method.