Showing posts with label canning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label canning. Show all posts

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Virginia's Peaches: Picking and A Canning Recipe

Hello dear friends! I am so excited to share with you bit of our peach picking trip that my family took this past Tuesday. As I mentioned in my last post, Summer for us is fruit filled. Beginning with strawberries in May and ending with blueberries in August (plus apple in September),  we spend our summer picking and day tripping. 

Last Summer we managed to squeeze in strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and apples. However this year my daughter is determined to pick everything that comes in season... in our state! Sadly we already missed cherry season by two days due to a late frost that killed most of the orchard's crop but I was happy to discover peaches just came in season. So we packed all the kids up- baby too- and headed to Charlottesville which is about 2-2.5 hours away. While the weather was a bit cloudy and sprinkling on our way up, the trip was so worth it.  Once you've picked and eaten a fresh peach- all other peaches will pale in comparison. 

The orchard we went to was the same one we visited this Autumn with our co-op, Carter Mountain. I have come to really love this place. The set-up is great, especially for families. It is also beautiful. Every time I visit this area of our state, I don't want to leave. I adore the mountains.  After we picked, and treated ourselves to some fresh baked peach donuts and peach cider slush- we headed home to make peach cobbler, juice, and jam. 

I used my bread maker this time to make jam. My machine specifically has a jam setting! I was given this maker for Christmas from my mother. I use it almost daily. You'd be surprised how many things is can make. I primarily use it to make dough, so I can shape and bake my bread it myself. But I digress, I will just have to write a bread maker post another time!

I doubled and slightly modified the recipe that was included in my bread maker cookbook. You can also follow this recipe by using your stove top, just skip down and I explain that process below. 

Also if you blanch your peaches first, it makes peeling them so much easier! 

Virginia Peach Jam

-4 cups of peeled and sliced peaches (if yours are not mushy ripe yet then you'll need to slightly mash them)
-2 cups organic sugar
-1 tps of apple pie spice (optional but I liked the extra kick it gives) 
-5 tps of lemon juice 
-3 tbls regular fruit pectin (optional but since peaches have less natural pectin in them and your jam will be a bit runny and more like preserves if you omit this)

If your using a bread machine, select your jam setting and sit back! Once it's done transfer your jam immediately to their jars. If you don't process them in a hot water bath, then you will need to keep your jams in the fridge or freezer. Processed jar will last 6 months in your pantry. 

If you don't have a bread machine, just add all the ingredients to a large boiling pot and bring your jam to a boil, stirring constantly. Once you've got a rolling boil add your pectin and boil for two minutes. Then remove from heat and transfer your jam immediately to their jars. As I said above, if you aren't going to give them a hot water bath to seal the jars, you'll need to put them right into your fridge or freezer. 

Cheers and Enjoy!
Until next time, 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

They all come from a tiny seed...

Phew, has it already been a week since our apple picking trip? Time sure flies when you're having fun and exhausted! This week we took a week off from co-op due to trips, home births, and general craziness in our schedules  That's what I love about co-op and my Momma partner- we're flexible. So when things come up, oh and they will come up when you have young kids, we can postpone and pick up where we left off. We also don't lose any money! 

Last Friday was our BIG co-op trip to Charlottesville for apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard. This was my first real time apple picking and the kids too. Last year we went to Bush Neck Farms in Williamsburg. The staff, despite calling ahead, was extremely unfriendly. We still made the best of our trip but let's just say we won't ever be going back. 

We decided to drive up during nap time and pick, play, and eat dinner- then drive home. Fortunately our plan and timing worked! The kids napped the whole time and were well behaved. A few melt downs but nothing that could be considered a trip ruined. I mean with four kids under 4, I think they were the best behaved little ones ever.

The orchard, the mountains, the apples, the kids were all so worth the drive. I really did not want to leave. It was gorgeous. The kids were in love. After we picked, they literally just frolicked on a hill playing for close to two hours. Deirdre was just shocked that a tree could make so many apples and that you can make so many things from apples. I really adore seeing her gears turning as well as being awe struck by God's great creation.

Jonas was a hoot. He was super possessive about his apples. He was content to just carry his one apple around and eat it. If he lost that one special apple- despite thousands of other nearby- he got very unnerved. He really seemed to enjoy himself as well. 

To top the trip off, we ate out at a packed restaurant with the kids. They were great, the food was great, and off we went on our way home. I am just so proud of myself and Anya for doing something lovely and enriching for our kids. For keeping our cool and going with the flow. I am slowly seeing some neat changes in my kids too since we've begun this Waldorf journey. I am so excited to see them flower more in the coming months.