Peachy Days

Red Haven free-stone peaches 2021

We were blessed with mucho peaches this year from our Red Haven peach tree. It was planted last year and surprised us when it produced a full 5-gallon bucket of peaches in the first year. This year our little peach tree grew in height and width and produced 10 gallons of peaches. Wow, double the harvest! It really went to town, giving us many sweet moments to savor, and many more for later in the year from our pantry.

2-year-old Red Haven peach tree ready to pick.

See how heavy the branches were with all of the fruit on them. The tree would have fallen over or it would have had broken limbs if Pete had not built supports for the limbs that were so heavily laden.

10 gallons of fresh peaches

We harvested two full 5-gallon buckets of very sweet-tasting fruit. They are not giants but are absolutely delicious. This little baby tree is a very welcome addition to our garden.

Peeled & sliced peaches in bowl.

Here is how I go about canning what we don’t eat fresh. I blanch them for 2 minutes in boiling water or less, then the skins are easily removed. Here is a bowl of the fruit peeled and ready to put into glass canning jars.

15 quarts of sliced peaches

Our little 2-year-old Red Haven peach tree blessed us with all we could eat in fresh fruit, then 15 quarts of the sweetest sliced peaches. Yummmmm. I made peach syrup for pancakes, peach jam, and sliced peaches. Our pantry is happy. 

Canning Berries

After Pickin’

strawberry 46Canning Berries. Ever wondered how you go about it? After a strawberry picking morning in the garden, comes a lot of prep work. Cleaning, sorting, coring the harvest. I am lucky to have a sweet husband who stands at the kitchen counter coring and sorting with me. This batch, after prep work, measured 36 cups ready to be processed.

Syrup

canning Strawberry 00724 cups are split into 2 pans on the stove. Pete’s Mom gave me the recipe and I remember Dorothy every time I make it. 12 cups fruit to 8 cups sugar, brought to a boil then immediately add 1 tsp of butter & turn down to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, add 3 Tbls lemon juice. This image shows it ready to foam over the top on the stove.

canning Strawberry 008Cooking Berries

Beware, boiling it is where it gets a little tricky. Only fill the pans about halfway full, Be careful to turn the temp down quickly when they boil, it can very easily and quickly boil right over the top. Have a teaspoon of butter ready and drop it into the foamy rising syrup. You’ll see the level recede back down into the pan rather quickly.

canning colander 05I place a colander cone in the sink with a bowl below it. The sink is lower and easier to reach, and spills are no problem. Pour through the colander to strain the fruit pulp out and put aside to make fruit roll-ups later. Then, pour the syrup into the jars and proceed with seal steps.

I know syrup makes a sticky mess on everything including all your utensils and pans. Clean up is a challenge, but remember, you don’t have to fight with it. Soak everything in warm soapy water, and it will soften, allowing really easy cleanup.

Fruit Roll-ups

canning Strawberry RU 003Making fruit roll-ups with the already sweetened pulp is easy cause you have already done all the work. I line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap that can be microwaved. Then, spread the pulp 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick on the sheets.

canning Strawberry RU 004Place them in a 150º oven overnight to dehydrate. In the morning, it is done if it is not sticky to touch. If it is still sticky, put it back in and let it go longer.canning Strawberry RU 006

Juice

Okay, I got too tired to process the remaining 12 cups of fresh strawberries. Instead of staying up late into the night, I freeze the remaining 12 cups in a zip lock bag. I’ll make strawberry juice later.

Strawberries This Morning

strawberry harvest
Two days worth of strawberries.

These are the strawberries this morning. I waited two days then picked berries again. It seems like a lot of work but worth it. The harvest amounted to 20 cups after cleaning and coring. Whew! Twenty cups is a lot of strawberries but it literally boiled down…

strawberry syrup
4 quarts strawberry syrup

to four quarts of strawberry syrup.

fruit roll-up
strawberry fruit roll-up

and two sheets of fruit roll-up in the dehydrator. So, you can see that gardening is keeping me busy this summer. This is the first time making fruit roll-ups so my fingers are crossed that they will come out yummy. It is always nice to have something for the grandkids when they come to visit. Even if they do not come out, Pete and I have no problem partaking of these goodies. They will not go to waste for sure.