Saturday, August 31, 2013

Processing Peaches

The last two days were a bit like I'd imagine an old-fashioned quilting bee was in times past. A few friends and I turned 160 pounds of peaches into canned peaches in light syrup, peach salsa, pickled peaches, peach jam and peach butter, about 175 jars worth. We worked and chatted and worked and sampled and worked. In a day or two we will divide the spoils and be ready to enjoy the summer flavor throughout the coming fall and winter.

This series of photos depicts the process from peach to product over the two days. The pictures are not chronological but rather show the steps of the processes in order: sorting, blanching, peeling and cutting, preparing other ingredients, filling jars, processing jars, and finally the finished bounty.

S came dressed for sorting many boxes of quickly ripening peaches.

K and R looking so expectant and energized at the start of our first day.

Peach skins slide off easily after blanching for 30 seconds.

J and R peel and quarter the peaches. Check out all those empty jars under the table.

S takes a turn at the peeling and dicing station.

K ladles the light syrup into the jars filled with peach slices.

Diced peppers are prepped for the salsa.

The sterilized jars are ready for pickling spices and herbs.

There were down times when we caught a few breezes through the house as both canners were doing their work.

How many pots can we fit on and around this stove? Two canners, a blanching pot, a small pot for sterilizing lids, and a crockpot for keeping the syrup warm.

Full salsa jars ready for processing.

K lifts out the processed jars.

The finished canned peaches and salsa.