Thursday, August 1, 2013

Just Peachy

Never in my life would I ever have dreamed I would develop a love for canning.  I mean, isn't that something laborious that Granny used to do?  Well, I certainly don't view it that way anymore!  I am finding it to be a very satisfying creative outlet.  This creative outlet, though, provides so much satisfaction on so many levels. The hours spent in this creative process are repaid over and over throughout the year as each jar of love is opened and consumed by family and friends around the table.  For me, each time I open a jar, I remember back to the day it was processed and remember the events of the day or the time shared with friends while working on canning.

Canning, however, is still very new to me, and I am finding I need lots of help and guidance.  Last week, two sweet, precious friends from church came to my home to help me can tomatoes.  Yesterday, I went to the home of another friend I consider my sister of the heart, and we canned peaches with the guidance of her sweet mother.  I feel so privileged to be adopted into the heritage, and to be able to learn from such special ladies who have taken me under their wing to teach me so many things. (Canning peaches and tomatoes are just the most recent projects.  They have also taught me how to cream and can fresh corn and how to freeze my bushels of peas.  There are other posts about those days on the blog.)  There is so much joy found in sitting around with a group of friends and working on projects such as these.  It sure makes the work a lot easier and faster!

We did a total of forty-seven quarts of peaches yesterday, and I brought home another box of peaches to do today.

After learning how my friends in our area can peaches, I felt brave enough to try it on my own.  I know I didn't follow all the rules perfectly, so please don't use me as your guide for canning!  I encourage you to read and follow all safety guidelines.  The Ball Blue Book of Canning is a great place to start.

There has been a lot of interest in the Cinnamon Vanilla Peaches I did today, so I thought I should write a post about them.

To start, I washed and peeled my peaches.  Before slicing them (The Ball canning book recommends canning halves.), I poured 3-1/2 quarts of unsweetened apple juice into a large stock pot.  To it, I added two cinnamon sticks, and 1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.  I let that simmer while I sliced my peaches.

Once my peaches were sliced, I added the slices to clean, hot jars with a stick of cinnamon.  I packed the slices as tightly as I could without mashing the slices into baby food.  :)  My jars had just gone through the dishwasher and were still hot, so I just removed one jar at a time as I worked.  Once the slices and cinnamon were packed in, I poured the very warm "cider" over the peaches to the lower rim of the jar and fitted and sealed the jar with the two piece lids. 

These are several jars waiting for their bath.  ;)  Once that last jar is packed and filled, I highly recommend grabbing a mug for yourself and drinking any leftover cider!  Ah!  It whispers the promise of fall!

Once the jars were placed in the water bath, I let the water come back up to a boil.  Once the water started to boil, I set the timer so that the jars would process twenty minutes.  The safe method is to have one or two inches of water over the jars.

Once the time is up, carefully remove the jars to a protected spot and let them sit undisturbed for twenty-four hours.  Then, remove the rings, rinse the jars, and store in a cool dry place until you are ready to open a jar and relive the memories!

Cinnamon Vanilla Cider Syrup 
3-1/2 quarts unsweetened apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the ingredients in a large stock pot.  Let the ingredients get hot, but not boiling, and reduce heat to low.  Simmer on low until ready to use.  

All ingredients can be adjusted to taste.  Some of my peaches were not as ripe as I would have liked, so I worried they might turn out too tart with the unsweetened apple juice.  As badly as I didn't want to, I ended up adding in 2/3 cup of sugar in hopes of not having tart peaches this winter.  :)

I ended up with 10 quarts.
I hope you have a chance to try them!  If you do, I would love to know what you think!  Feel free to share your creative canning ideas, too!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!


  1. Excellent article and description of your community life. Hear-hear! Love it.

    1. I live thirty minutes from friends, but we do like to work on big jobs together and to help each other. One of my favorite sayings is, "Many hands make light work." :)

  2. Oh, and I wonder where you got your unsweetened apple juice? Was it locally produced or store-bought?

    1. Thank you, Arden! I just bought the juice from the store. I will be doing apples this year, so hopefully I will have some juice leftover to use for other "projects". :)

  3. Hey i know those two pretty ladies! And they are some of my favorite people in the world.:) Glad you had an opportunity to spend time with them. I know how much you love Donna and I'm glad you had the chance to spend time with my grandma too because she's one very special lady!
    I enjoy reading your blog! You always inspire me.:)
    Have a great day!
    Kelly Kauffman

  4. Aw! Thank you! Yes! They are precious, precious, precious! I love them to pieces!

    1. Grandma brought me some delucious tomatoes too! Yum! ;)

  5. I LOVE it! For some reason I teared up over this post. Perhaps not so much about peaches as, remembering our heart to heart chat in the Living Room that ended all to abruptly by.....of all things, a black widow spider!I wish somehow I could convey to you how much you inspire me! I will suffice it to say that God is just SIMPLY good! I love you, Chickadee!

    1. Yes He is!!! Dumb spider! :) Never again will I can peaches without thinking of you, your mama, and black widows! If not for that spider, we would probably STILL be sitting there talking! :) Love you too! :)