Peach Saga

Here in Utah it is peach season. Everyone I know is eating peaches, canning peaches, blogging about peaches, talking about peaches on Facebook, and so on. My little peach tree in the backyard has unfortunately not gotten much bigger in the last three summers and still only produces five fruits at a time (they were pretty tasty). I love fresh peaches, but I also really love home-canned (bottled?) peaches in the winter. Two years ago I did a bunch of canning but I didn't do any last year and my pantry is looking sparse. I optimistically thought that I could can a batch or two fairly easily. I was a bit wrong.

I first thought of doing the canning last Saturday. However, that plan was hampered by the fact that the peaches needed to be purchased a few days in advance and running errands on weeknights is tricky for me. I also needed time on Saturday to mow the lawn, do shopping, clean the house, and run a few other errands that don't get done during the week. So last Saturday I purchased a large box of peaches and planned to process them on Tuesday or Wednesday night.

Tuesday night I got the kids in bed, and though I was tired I still wanted to do the peaches. Then as I was getting supplies together I realized that I had failed to purchase new lids for the canning jars. Such a small thing to forget! No problem--I would stop by Target on my way to work Wednesday morning and pick some up. Wednesday morning I was running late and thought it would be better to go after work. As I was leaving work that evening, I got out my phone to call Mr. Fob and confirm that he could stay a few minutes more with the kids while I ran the errand. My phone was dead. So, I ran home, got permission to run to the store, and drove quickly to Target. They were out of lids. Wednesday night deteriorated after that, including a message about a Church obligation that I had completely forgotten signing up for, another bedtime meltdown from Little Dude, and a failed attempt to make broccoli cheese soup for dinner.

So, Thursday rolled around and the peaches were smelling quite fragrant. I shoved the box in my extra fridge before I left for work in the morning. After work I went to WalMart; I usually hate shopping there but they do have a large selection of canning supplies. Thursday was actually a good day for running this errand since I have to pick up S-Boogie from her piano lesson after work. I thought I was going to do the peaches that night, but I had to go visiting teaching and by the time I got back from that, put the kids in bed, and gathered up the garbage and put the cans out, it was nearly 9:00. I started heating up water, looked at the clock, and wisely thought, "What am I doing?" 

Friday I got home from work, ate a quick dinner, and got my canning supplies together. In a little less than two hours' time I had nine beautiful quart jars of peaches cooling on my counter. Everything finally worked out and now I have peaches for the winter. I think I'm going to do applesauce in two weeks while I listen to General Conference. Because I am insane.

The truth is, this situation really wasn't all that bad after all. I just keep forgetting that 40 hours of my week are now taken up by work and I can't use them for other things. I try really hard not to run errands during the week if I can because it means taking three kids with me and it often means disrupting their bedtime and our evening routines. I don't think I've eliminated canning from my repertoire completely but I do have a better sense of how it may or may not fit into my life at this point.


Desmama said…
After canning peaches for a few years, I, too, have a pretty good idea of what it requires time-wise and energy-wise. Even so, I usually start out considerably more energetic than I end. I began this season with the thought that I'd do peaches, pears, tomatoes, corn, plums, and maybe some iteration of apples this year. I ended up doing peaches, a few tomatoes, freezing some corn, and . . . that's it. I think it helps to can with someone (which I've done with Miss Nem). It goes faster and is much more pleasant to talk and visit with someone. That said, that person has to basically camp out with you the whole day if you're both going to get something done. Maybe next year you can bring your kiddos up here and we'll have a marathon canning day while they run around and play. I think they'd have fun. :)
josh mckinney said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aerin said…
Sorry, there was the wrong account.

Some of the most stressful times I remember growing up surround canning. My mom felt like she "had to", and it was incredibly stressful. In the end, considering how much she spent (time and money), it would probably have been cheaper for her to buy $4 canned peaches from a friend.

I may start canning when my kids get older, but for now, it's something I put on the shelf. There is simply too much to do and not enough hours in the day (for me).
Plantboy does most of our canning, but I am a great cheerleader and do whatever he tells me to do. I'm a bit like the Little Red Hen's friends when it comes to canning. Boy do I love the stuff when it is DONE.

I was totally demoralized on the peaches this year by my mother and sister calling me from her brand-new kitchen (complete with the six burner stove that will support the weight of a whole pig) in which to do their canning project together. It just didn't seem quite as much fun to tackle on my own this year. Costco has nice canned peaches. :)

There will be tomatoes and applesauce though . . .

And, by the by, I love the spelling of Aerin's name. So Hero and the Crown. If I had a daughter I was going to name her Aris. Isn't that lovely? Oh well. She'll still be lovely; she'll just have to get a novel instead of a seat at our table.

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