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Three years ago, we planted several fruit trees on the property in addition to the existing large smokehouse apple tree. We hoped to get some fruit we could can and use throughout the year. The peach trees yielded a peach or two each last year, and we thought they were going to be duds. But, this summer, they really took off. Before we knew it, there were hundreds of peaches on each tree — making such a heavy load that some of the limbs split, and others hung to the ground. We realized we had been very poor at pruning — something we will pay more attention to in the future.

This last week of July seemed to be the very best for peaches on the one tree. We picked a full basket on Wednesday evening, and then collected some canning supplies at the local supermarket. The recipe we used can be found here:

https://happymoneysaver.com/canning-peaches-no-sugar/

We wanted to can them without extra sugar, and settled on this lemon juice, honey, and water approach.

Tammi and I decided we would do the canning together. If you ever want to test your marriage, this is a great way to do it. Two spouses stand on opposite sides of a table, knives in hand, with boiling water nearby. If the atmosphere would get a little too heated, there were certainly sufficient weapons to take out the frustration!

Like a good husband, I listened to Tammi’s idea about how the process should work — and we set about it. First, the jars were boiled, and the lids and rings simmered. Then, the peaches were quickly dropped in the hot water, and then icy water. This made it real easy to remove the skin – just like rubbing down a new baseball on the pitcher’s mound. So, I pulled out the peaches from the water, did my skin-removing rub, and quartered them. Tammi did the rest of the cutting and the filling of the jars.

“Your squeezing the peaches too hard,” said Mrs. Knorr, concerned about the destruction of some of the fruit in my large hands.

“I’m sorry, dear, ” I said, juice dripping from my palms. “I’ll be more gentle” — smirk on my face. Then, I ladled a couple more out of the hot water into the cold.

“There, see …,” I said. “I prefer to handle two at a time.”

This received a glare and then a smile, and then we had a good laugh.

One basket of peaches filled about 10 pint jars. Next, we added a tablespoon of lemon juice to each, and then the honey and water concoction. On went the lids and rings, and into the boiling water for 15 minutes.

While this first batch boiled, we went back out to the tree and picked another. We were able to fill it quickly, and then began pruning back the tree. I am hopeful to repair the one split at the trunk of a major limb — it was really sappy.  We’ll see if bungee cords do the trick.  From the pruned limbs, we figured we recovered another half of a basket — and we haven’t touched the second tree yet!

Next, we pulled the jars from the boiling water and let them cool.  All of the lids sealed nicely!  Tammi then took some of the remaining sliced peaches out to her horses, Henry and Lakota, who loved them!

The following morning, we repeated the process with the additional basket of peaches.  We were much more efficient this time, and had a lot less waste. It seems a basket of peaches = about 12 pint jars or 1.5 gallons of sliced peaches. I’ll report back on how they held up — and how they tasted!

We have the second tree for next week. The fruit on that tree wasn’t ripe. It should yield at least another basket — and it too needs a pruning.

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