Sunday, September 20, 2009

Peaches & Tomatoes

One of the wonderful things about Washington State is the abundant produce grown locally.

We have been trying to practice the 100 mile diet concept regarding eating locally whenever possible.

My trip to Moses Lake enabled me to purchase a large amount of produce that was grown locally. After visiting the pups at Pat's house I stopped by a local orchard and bought 75 lbs of peaches, 25 lbs of nectarines and 25 lbs of apples (I am going back in a month for more apples) for approximately $50.00.

Yummy fresh peaches...

Three boxes of yummy peaches ... crap 75 lbs of yummy peaches. That is alot of peaches.

When I was at Pat's house she gave us tons of melons, cabbage, squash and peppers from her garden.

Yummy, the dogs love squash! Which is cool, because my kids hate it. Nature has a way of balancing things out so nicely doesn't it?

Our garden has produced a huge bounty too. We have tomatoes, peppers, zucchini & cucumbers coming out of our ears. Which is why I love canning jars...

Friday night we started canning peaches. The process is easy, albeit time consuming.

First you need to blanche the peaches (drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drop them in icewater - this makes them very easy to peel). Peel them...

Cut them up, making mess is a requisite part of the process

Don't wear nice clothes - because they look like this when you are done.

Make sure you drop some on the floor every now and then. Dogs love peaches too. Dogs are also handy to have around when a slippery peach shoots out of your hand and lands 15 feet away on the living room carpet. No problem, they clean it right up. Good dogs.

After cutting them up (peaches, not dogs), sprinkle on some Fruit Fresh to keep them from browning. Please note: I didnt put enough on this batch. oops.

Stuff the peaches in jars, then pour boiling syrup over the top. Wipe the rims, slap on a lid and screw down the band.

I love the color of peaches a jar. Makes me warm and happy inside.

The last step is to plunge those jars into boiling water for 35 minutes. I love my canners...more than my husband I think.

After they process, put them somewhere nearby to you can hear the glorious sound of lids popping and bask in the pleasure that you too can preserve food (and save oodles of money at Christmas giving local home canned preserves and fruit as gifts).

Of course you need to stop and eat along the way. Peaches and coffee...perfect combination.

Kids with full mouths are quiet kids which makes mom happy.

After the peaches...we embarked on the mountain of tomatoes from our back yard.

SALSA time. Here is a link to several excellent recipes we use SALSA FOR CANNING

Blanche, peel and chop up your tomatoes.

Chop up a mess of onions. Here is a tip, use a small desk top fan & blow it over your cutting board as you chop the onions. more tears. The kids next to you will start crying though...oops.

Our garden produced a ton of peppers. Mild and Spicy...we made three types of salsa. One with extra garlic, one extra hot and one medium.

Dump it all together with garlic, spices, lime juice (for the correct pH) in a pot.

Mix it up

Bring it to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour it hot into jars & process it for 15 minutes.

While you are doing that...make your children grate up zucchini. At Chez Harwell we believe in Child Labor and enforce it often. If they want to eat, they work. Kinda like training dogs...they work for their food. Works on husbands too - effective tool to make them do the dishes.

Wait, where are the boys? Why do they always dissapear when we are cooking? Is it genetic?

Why is it when you kids get ahold of your camera do you always find these type of pictures? Someone please tell me WHY?

Grace will hate me for this someday. Oh well...she will remember the peaches forever.

So will I...

After canning all the salsa we whipped up several loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer. This is just the beginning...

Canning and baking is such exhausting work. Doing all the dishes just takes it right out of you...

Supervising all this work zaps all your strength. Just ask Ranger...

Peaches or Salsa anyone? We have plenty!

75 lbs of peaches = 40 quarts canned and a whole bunch still sitting in the fridge.


Jaenne said...

Good lord woman! Please tell me your coming back to Idaho soon with a car full of your homemade goodies! I went "shopping" in my Gram's pantry when I visited in August...then promptly left it all at my parent's house!

Pat A said...

Looks great.
We just have tomatoes left to put up and that is good, I am getting time to get rid of all those nasty spiders we get over here. I have never seen anything like them. They are so small you can hardle see them but so plentiful, they can cover the entire outside of your house in a few weeks. I have one vacuum just for vacuuming spiders. Caryl is getting to where he ignores the vacuum, never runs from it now. He is a peach freak and is wondering what happened when the last ones were finished.
I remember the days when I had kids to help with the canning. Takes longer now.

Emma Rose said...

I knew you were "wonder woman"! I just KNEW it!!! The Duchess can make pickles - that's it. Once she tried green beans and ended up throwing them all away. Yuk! Oh yeah, she made freezer jam once too - about 100 years ago. Wait until I tell her how talented you are!!! She'll turn green.

Emma Rose

PS Puppies??? You saw puppies???

PoochesForPeace said...


Lean said...

lots of cooking work hihihi looks yummie.