Peach Overload

DSC_0350I realized last week that I was well into canning last year at this time. I have been so preoccupied with zucchini and the start of school that I haven’t made any peach butter or plum jam this year. I have almost finished my stash from last year and I definitely need to lay in a supply of toast topping for the next year.

I had time last Friday, so I thought I would head to the local farm and see if they had any peaches. Usually they have their blemished and bruised peaches for half price, but the supply goes fast. I was in luck and they had enough that I had my pick of the baskets. I bought two, which worked out to twelve pounds of peaches. I had all afternoon free and I figured I could cook and can peaches for a bit and then work on other chores around the house. Oh, the best laid plans…

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I blanched the peaches, since I had so many. I wanted them to be quick and easy to peel. I must not have left them in the water long enough – they were not easy to peel. The skins came off in little pieces instead of just sliding off the peaches. I should have re-blanched them, but I had already dumped the water and didn’t feel like waiting for more to come to a boil. Not the best decision I have ever made.

I had enough peaches for a double batch of peach butter, and I still had only used half of them. I got those cooking and tried to decide what to do with the rest of my bounty. Since I had already blanched them, I couldn’t really put them off to another day.

I had bought a box of low sugar pectin a few weeks ago, so I pulled it out to see how many peaches would make a batch of peach jam – four and a half cups. Okay, fine. That took care of a few more peaches. I figured I would peel and dice the rest and decide what to do with them after that.

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About the tenth pound of peaches I decided that maybe the afternoon wasn’t so fun anymore. I was hot, sticky and royally tired of peaches. I diced the last peach and tossed it into the measuring cup. Grand total – eight cups. Perfect for a pie. Another day. I tossed the diced peaches in a zip lock bag and froze them.

I still had to can the peach jam. And can the peach butter. And wash all my sticky dishes. I forged ahead, water bath processing the filled jars while I cleaned up the messy kitchen. I had the realization at that point that the actual canning process isn’t the arduous part – it’s the peeling, dicing and cooking that come before the canning.

Once I finished it all, I collapsed onto the couch in the much cooler living room and vowed not to move, or to look at another peach, for a very long time. From my vantage point I could see the beautiful jars of peach jam and peach butter cooling on the counter – all fourteen of them. Not bad for an afternoon’s work.

The Best Laid Plans…

I had great plans for my day today. My list included spin class, running to the produce farm and the grocery store, making bagels, vacuuming, making stuffed shells for dinner and doing a load of laundry. Things took on a life of their own as the day went on.

I started the bagel dough after my workout, and left it to rise while I ran the errands. It ended up rising longer than it should have, since I took time to unload the car and eat lunch before dealing with it. When I opened the trunk I realized I had managed to set something on the peaches from the farm. Add “slice squashed peaches” to list. When I was putting the rest of the produce away, I found beets in the crisper that I bought at least three weeks ago to make pickled beets (I’m glad root vegetables keep). Add “cook beets” to the list.

I realized that we had absolutely no bread in the house – a rarity for a baker. Usually there is something hiding in the freezer, but no. Add “bake bread” to the list. I figured I was already in the kitchen, so one more batch of dough wouldn’t be too much. It wouldn’t have been, without the bagels, the peaches, the beets and the stuffed shells.

I plugged away at my list, trying to be as efficient as possible. During a break in the kitchen action I took a minute to put laundry in the dryer, only to find yesterday’s clean laundry. Oops. Add “fold laundry” to the list.

Oh, and did I mention spilling beet boiling water all over the kitchen? I always close drawers after I get what I need. Except today. When I was taking the beet pan to the sink to pour off the water the pan slipped, pouring magenta water into two (count them) drawers, down the front of the cabinets, inside a cabinet door, on the floor, on the counter. Add “clean up pink mess” to the list (at least I missed my shoes).

At the end of it all, I had a dozen bagels, one loaf of bread and 16 rolls (I doubled the bread recipe because I obviously don’t know when to stop), ready-to-eat sliced peaches in the fridge, pickled beets all for me (I’m the only one who eats them around here), two loads of folded laundry, a clean kitchen floor and dinner ready to go in the oven. The vacuuming will have to wait until tomorrow.