Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blackberries and Peaches and Corn, Oh My!

Came home with a flat of blackberries (12 boxes for $12), a box of peaches (seconds for only $10!), and two dozen corn. Wow!
Saving aside a couple boxes to eat and use in cobbler tomorrow, I placed the blackberries on two baking sheets in the freezer. Once frozen, I would scoop them into freezer bags for easy access. They would be great in scones, muffins, and jam later in the winter.

I knew we would eat most of the corn in the next few days, but I scraped some off the cob raw and froze that as well. Nothing like digging into that stash in January, tossing some corn kernels in with our fajita fixings.

And then I stared at the large box of peaches. Hmm. Okay, out come 8 or 10 for cobbler tomorrow (my husband makes a mean berry/peach cobbler. It can only be done with super fresh fruit.) And then I decided. It was time to learn to can! I had felt daunted for a couple of years, but a recent visit to my dear friend Dawn, who cans every summer, made me realize it wasn't as hard as I had thought. She directed me to the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Easy instructions, and you can sort by what you're wanting to do (can peaches or tomatoes, make jam, etc.)

Leaving my daughter playing in her room and my husband painting the porch ceiling, I ran to the local grocery store and picked up the materials I needed: jars, a little canning equipment set for only $8, and "Fresh Fruit" - recommended by Dawn as the easiest and best way to add ascorbic acid to prevent browning. I got out of there for $35. Nice!

And then the process began! It was definitely easier than I'd thought. Poetically enough (for Dawn is a math instructor), it reminded me of algebra. Plug the numbers into the equation correctly, and you can't go wrong. Follow the steps for canning correctly, and you can't go wrong.

Except my quart jars wouldn't fit in my pot with enough water overhead for boiling. I tried it, it bubbled water, and extinguished the stove flame! Onto pints.

Except my pints boiled over too and extinguished the flame, but no one noticed till the allotted time was up. I re-boiled those for 20 minutes.

Other than not watching the pot -- you can't go wrong!

The end of the day gave me 8 pints of canned peaches plus two full pie-fillings. The peach-seller at our farmer's market recommended putting together the filling for peach pie and pouring into a pie pan atop plastic wrap. Once frozen, you lift it up and into a plastic bag. Mid-winter, place into freshly made pie crust, bake, and voila! (At least, I hope so! I'll let you know how that goes...)

So. 8:30pm. Exhausted but happy and satisfied. The porch ceiling is painted (thanks to my husband); the blackberries, peaches, and corn are all properly dispatched, and my daughter is asleep. Good stuff!

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