T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Emergency Preparations - Part III - Canning

Thus far, I've discussed our family emergency preparations in the form of 72 hours "jump bags" and diapering the baby. Now I move onto canning...

You've probably noticed it's been a week since I've posted anything - it probably has something to do with the 80lbs of organic peaches that showed up at our home this week or the blackberries and huckleberries that defrosted from the freezer and needed to be turned to jam and pies. It's been a busy week. Oh, and the tiny little detail about one of my best friends (and the kids' friends, too) suddenly moving away - that's been ever present on our minds, too. More on that later.

I start school in just a couple days. I'm pretty nervous but excited. I start clinical rotations which should bring some interesting adventures. However, what better time to get some more of my emergency preparations done than a brief school break?

That is, when not chasing two little ones...and for those who often inquire how I do it? Naps and bedtime...I get most of my work done when they are sleeping. T Rex is into everything and has to be watched every second and Bebe Sister is not far behind. And, I don't like heating the house up during the day, so most of the canning is done early in the morning or later in the evening. If T Rex Dad is home, I have a little extra time during the day, too.

In the past couple weeks I've done pickles, blackberry jam, huckleberry jam, peach jam, and canned peaches. These make an excellent addition to the dry goods in our pantry or excellent bartering goods or gifts.

I use this website for all my canning instructions. Sometimes I change a couple things but this is the best reference I've found for my needs. Here is our organic peach canning process.

20lb box of organic peaches and Costco size bag of organic sugar - the peaches were kind of expensive ($48/20lb box) but we try extremely hard to do all organic produce, at least as often as possible. And there was an advantage to purchasing in bulk - hence 80lbs.

My "students" (slave labor) washing/peeling. We had the jars in the dishwasher while we did this.

Perfect ripe peach - first wash, then soak in hot water, then soak in cold water.

Same peach minus the skin - after the hot/cold process, often the skins come right off. Then they just need to be cut in halves or quarters and placed in jars.

Here from right to left - cleaning, peeling, pitting/halving then into jars. The non-desirable peaches (bruised or too soft) are perfect for jam or baby food. T Rex Princess is okay with the peach baby food as long as we add cinnamon.

Fill jars with syrup mixture - 6 cups water to 2 cups sugar. For 40lbs we made a triple batch. This is the light syrup recipe but you can make it sweeter if you want. The sugar water needs to come to a boil for just about 5 minutes and then be kept hot until poured directly into the jars to cover the peaches. Don't let the peaches sit out in the air too long without being in either cold water or in the jars with the hot water or they will discolor.

Lids need to be kept in near boiling water until ready to place on jars.

Place covered jars into hot water bath.

Cook for 25 minutes - I start the timer when at a rolling boil. Ideally, I try to have at least 2 inches of water on top of the jars. This is how I've done it for almost 10 years - never had a jar not seal or any jars spoil. We're at nearly 4000 feet altitude, too.

Carefully remove hot, completed jars.

Admire your work!!! Seriously gorgeous and seriously delicious!

And a shout of thanks for my "students" - we had a great time canning and chasing babies!

What canned goods are in your pantry or are you planning to can?


Caitlin said...

Wow! Those peaches are BEAUTIFUL!! I am sad that I couldn't be there this year!

Jenners said...

Wow ... you always amaze me with all the things that you do ... with going to school and having two kids. The peaches look fantastic.

Rey said...

Pick your own is my "go to site" for most of my canning needs too! Canning is a lot of work but very rewarding as well. I think everyone should learn how to preserve food, it is an important tool! It makes me smile to know you do as well!
I just ordered my peaches, I have a neighbor who's family has an orchard in Utah. I am only doing one box this year because my kids don't really like canned peaches. But we like jam, jelly, and pie filling. And homemade peach ice cream is a favorite!
I still have two jars of peach jam left, one pomegranate syrup & two jelly, four or so apple jelly and two jars of canned tomatoes.
It's definately time to restock the pantry!
Btw, you have a pretty kitchen!

septembermom said...

Yummy peaches!! You do everything wonderfully :) You amaze me!

Emily said...


80 pounds of peaches??!! You are somethin' else!

They look lovely!

You're amazing...as always!

lizhasalife said...

I wish I could be there :) Looks like fun and the peaches look delicious!! Great job :)

Kim said...

you never cease to amaze me. I love that you do all this stuff. It inspires me even if I don't do half of what you do. I know what you mean about T Rex needing to be watched every second. We're experiencing the exact same thing over here.

Erin said...

I missed this post! They look wonderful!

Erin said...

Oh and I was going to say....the peach jam that doesn't set up all that well...we put on top of vanilla ice cream! =)