To me peaches in the frozen section of my grocery store NEVER yield the same taste as seasonally canned peaches. Canning peaches is relatively easy! I thought I would do a short blog post on my adventure last week. You kinda have to view it as an adventure because when you have been on your feet all day long and you are pulling the last canner off at 11:45 p.m., your body is screaming sleep the only way I can reconcile it in my mind…is an adventure!
I let these bad boys ripen on the floor of my basement. They came to me a bit hard but ripened up beautifully, it took a couple of days for them to get soft and delicious. I like to place them in warm water for peeling, it seems they peel easier with warm water. I rinse my canning jars out and start filling. This year I sweetened with 1/32 tsp of pure stevia, donked it into the jar and filled with cold water vs making a simple syrup to pour over them.
Box of canning peaches
Sweetener of your choice, I used pure stevia
Wash peaches in warm water, fill jars. You can fill your jars with peach halves, sliced peaches or diced peaches, it doesn’t matter how you cut them to can just don’t over fill your jars. I had 2 jars that didn’t seal because I had filled them too full. It’s fine because I just refrigerated them and we have used the 1 quart on baked oatmeal this week. I donked my 1/32 tsp of stevia into the jar and filled with tap water. I leave a good 1″ of head space, aka no water on the top. If you are making a simple syrup you can cook 1 cup of sugar to 6 cups of water on the stove, once the sugar is dissolved pour over your full peach jars. Never put a jar into your canner without liquid, it will explode in your canner.
Wipe the top of the jar off with a warm wash rag. I put my lids in a little kettle of water and bring them to a boil. Take them off the stove, drain water and place on top of jar. Them secure the ring over top of your lid, tightly. Place the jar in the canner. Once your canner is full, fill it with water to the top of the necks, drop your jars all the way to the bottom of the canner. Turn on high, once boiling set your timer for 8 minutes after the 8 minutes turn burner off, lift jars up with the device that is in your canner. I put an old towel out and place my hot jars on the towel and wait for that magical ‘popping’ sound. It is like music to my ears!
I don’t move them or touch them until they are fully cooled. The next morning I am always running my finger on top of the lid to make sure they are all sealed. You will know if one did not because that center bubble will give, even if it stays down after you touched it, it has not sealed. You will want to refrigerate that jar because of you put it on your basement shelf, the peaches will spoil. If run your finger over all the lids and they are all smooth on top you have just canned a perfect batch of peaches!
We laid my husband’s great niece to rest 4 days ago.
There is something about burying a 3 year old who has fought a battle with cancer that shakes you deep to the core. The questions surface? You ponder! You cry! You some how come to terms that God really is ok with the questions, because HE is present and is aware of our humanity!
There is a new element to grieving that I have never walked before, it’s helping my children grieve and grieve well. We could have left them at home from the service but choose not to. There is something about them seeing pain with Merv and I at there side. They need to see our tears, hear the sadness in our voice and then also extend their own arms and hug the people closest to the situation.
Our Kate, who is 4 months older then Imogen Sky just kept telling me on Sunday, “This is the saddest day ever?” Yes baby, it is a very sad day! She was trying to figure out why they were burying her in a treasure chest, I actually like that name for a coffin better, I think it will stick. As we lingered at the grave side, she told me she wasn’t ready to go even though the committal was over. It wasn’t until we went and laid flowers on the ‘treasure chest’ that she was ready. She was just disturbed that we would bury Imogene with the worms. All of these questions were great opportunities to share with her that ‘this world is not our home.’ I don’t know to what degree she comprehends what I shared with her because some of these concepts I don’t get. I choose to trust that the God who made Kate and formed her; will open her understanding even when it doesn’t seem right that we are burying little Imogen with the worms.
It is amazing how God is in the sadness, the questions?! You hug your children longer, you linger a bit more as they tell their story. You realize that life, this specific life that has been crafted for me by an Almighty God isn’t meant to be taken for granted. We all know that but it’s in these moments that you ‘get it.’ All of you have had your own moments, your “it” where you heard Jesus calling you deeper into relationships. That is what this past weekend has done for me!
We have been busy with all things summer, as I am sure you have been too. Our days are filled with library trips, settling sibling disputes, Vacation Bible School (the kids absolutely loved this), picking blackberries and delivering to markets, pulling off Japanese beetles on said blackberries. On a side note: we are tired of these little rascals! This week we have pulled off three 5 gallon buckets full of these nasty bugs in only 3 short days.
We do plan to have some down time, host a few people and do swimming lessons before school starts.
Here is this week’s recipe, a few days late :-).
ALPINE MEATBALLS AND RICE FOR THE FREEZER
6 cups dry rice, cook according to directions
4 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp salt
5 – 12 oz mushroom soup (this is the brand I like to use because it has no MSG)
4 cups beef broth
12 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups swiss cheese, shredded
4 tbsp parsley
Prepare rice according to package, allow to cool on stove top while you prepare meatballs. Combine beef, eggs, oatmeal and salt. Form into balls and bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.
While meatballs are baking mix mushroom soup, beef broth, garlic, cheese and parsley.
Divide rice between 4 foils or glass baking dishes. Distribute meatballs equally over rice. Pour sauce mixture over meatballs and rice. Cover with foil. Label and freeze. When ready to bake, bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly around the edges.