It's decision time. Do I get a bushel of peaches, or do I pass on them until next year? I'm definitely on the fence about peaches.
My grandmother always canned peaches. It didn't matter if she still had a few jars left over from the previous year, when the peach harvest was happening, peaches were processed. My grandfather had a couple of dwarf peach trees, but there were problems when he'd only bring in a few peaches at a time. Processing just two or three quarts of anything at a time is labor and time-intensive. I don't like to preserve anything if I can't fill the canner.
That's a problem I won't have. Having been an eyewitness to what the deer can do to fruit trees, I never planted any. Nor will I. If you'd like to read The Apple Tree Story, it's over at Between the Keys. True story, too, and it explains why I won't bother with fruit trees.
But back to the question of the day. Do I go to the orchard and get a bushel of peaches? I can make a batch of peach jam, peach pepper jam, maybe a peach chutney, peach pie filling, and plain peaches. If I do it this year, I'm likely set for peaches for the next two, possibly three years. We're told that home-canned foods are good for eighteen months, but the truth is it lasts longer if the seal is intact. Would I stretch it past three years? Probably not, but two years isn't a problem for me.
I'm leaning towards doing peaches. It'll add variety to our winter menu, something we desperately need. We're like most people in that we gravitate toward the "easiest to cook" menu. I want to do better and better needs to include peaches.
The good news is I won't need to try to do everything today. There's time to join Himself for a cup of coffee before I head out to the orchard. I want to make a few phone calls to see which storefront has what variety and for how much. I know I want a freestone variety and not a cling. I think my grandmother preferred Red Haven, but there are newer varieties out there.
Home food preservation is a brave new world to me. My grandmother would be amazed at the changes in our foods and the shortcuts we now have to "putting up" canned goods.
For better or worse, peaches, here we come!
The Lady of The Hideaway