Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sixty pounds of peaches!!!

Here are the "fruits" of my labor. Sixty pounds of peaches netted me in total: 22 pints of peach butter, 11 pints of sliced peaches in a light syrup, 7 half pints of peach jam, 7 tiny little jelly jars of peach butter, and about a pound in the freezer. Not bad for all my efforts!!! What have I learned from my peach-y exercise in canning?
1. Make sure your peaches are absolutely ripe!!!! The peels will come off so much easier after you immerse them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then dipped in cold water. The first 20 pounds I processed was very laborious because they weren't ripe. By my last 20 pounds, we had it down!!! Make sure they're ripe!!!!!!
2. "Many hands make light work!" The more the merrier and it will go by quickly if you have lots of help.
3. Flying peach pulp will burn you! Trust me...I learned the hard way!!!!
4. I've heard of some people boiling down the pits and peels. I personally gave some of the peels to my worms (I have a small worm bin) and they absolutely love them!!!!
It will be a joy to have that peach butter in winter, but for now, I really don't want to see another peach for awhile, ha, ha!!!
What are you preserving in your neck of the woods???

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More canning...peaches and pears!

Look at these gorgeous pears! These only cost me $1 per 3 lbs. Oh yes!!! I will be making pear butter out of these beauties. Plus, I bought 40 more pounds of peaches. I know, I know, you probably think I'm crazy, but they were such a deal. In a previous post, I told you that I made 4 little jelly containers of peach butter. Uhhh, they're all gone. The kids went crazy over it. They love it on toast and the other night we put it on pancakes. It was CRAZY GOOD!!! So I'm going to make loads of it for this winter. Can't you imagine a blizzard outside and having a delicious scone or buttermilk biscuit topped with the lusciousness of summer by way of peach butter? I can't wait to scoff at the snow while indulging myself!!! Yes, I'm a summer baby! Needless to say, I'll be busy the next few days with my canning, but it will be so worth it!!!

Beans are coming in!

These are the lovely Royal Burgundy beans. They are a purple bush bean that was my oldest daughter's crop this year since her favorite color is purple!!! We picked only seven so far, but that is just the beginning! We have many more to come!!! The family stood around as we cooked them to watch the color change from purple to green!!! These are a great bean to have to get your kids interested in growing and eating beans! It's healthy and you have a little magic show to go with it!!! They were just tickled!

We did manage to get one zucchini so far (absolutely disappointing)! The tomatoes are starting to ripen...I can't wait to make salsa! The squashes are plugging along as well. We have pumpkins and yellow summer squash, and for the first time I'm growing dipper gourds. I'm way excited about that one! How is your garden growing???

Monday, August 3, 2009

Canning is "peachy" keen!

I bought twenty pounds of peaches because I got them dirt cheap!!! Here are the "fruits" of my labor! I canned 11 pints of sliced peaches in light syrup, 7 pints of peach jam, and 4 of the tiny little jelly jars of peach butter!!! Not bad for twenty pounds. I think I will be getting another twenty pounds since it was sooooo inexpensive ($0.39/lb.). I can't wait until winter to eat this summery goodness!!!
When I started with the peach jam a few days ago, I could not get the peels off the peach. I think it was because the peaches weren't quite ripe. I waited a few days for them to ripen to can the sliced peaches, and the peels came off like it was nothing. That saved me a ton of work!!!! Now they look so pretty and I'll check the seals tomorrow. In the background you'll notice Ball's Blue Book of Preserving. It has been such a valuable guide as I can this year. It is quite the resource and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn to can things properly. What are you canning or preserving this season?
An update on my zucchini: not so good. It's very embarrassing that I'm zucchinimom and I'll barely have any zucchini this year. Last year was such a stellar year for zucchini around here and horrible for tomatoes. This year, the tomatoes are growing like gangbusters and the zucchini are doing miserable. Such is the life of a gardener!!!
Happy growing and happy preserving!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Powdery mildew and our dear zucchini

I decided to start blogging here because of all the great gardening blogs I follow here. I call my blog Zucchinimom because I am mom to a family who could literally eat their weight in zucchini!!!
On that note, we are engaged in a battle royale with powdery mildew on our zucchini. It is quite stressful to all of us; our beloved zucchini is under siege. So today I have started my battle plan against the fungus (I believe it is a fungus???). After reading many different homemade solutions, I have opted for the milk solution. You use 10% milk to water, and then you spray the leaves of your affected plants. I will keep you posted on this strategy to see if it works or not. Above I have the after and before picture (I'm trying to figure out the whole picture thing here; it's a bit different from other blogs). I thinned out a majority of the badly infected leaves. I have nine plants in total so maybe they needed a bit more room. The scientist in me is leaving some of the not-so-bad leaves around to see the difference that the milk solution makes. I will keep you all posted and let you know the results of my experiment...(insert evil laughter).
(Can anyone here tell me how to move my pictures around??? This isn't the easiest thing to figure out. I've already looked up on the help menu how to do this but nothing seems to work. Thanks!)