Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Canning... peaches and tomatoes!

So I would like to think that everything I post on here is a wildly huge success and that I have achieved domestic godess status. However, that is just not the case. I would also prefer not to share with you when things go terribly wrong. However, that would not feel honest. So with all of that said.....
Monday night, I made my first attempt at making speghetti sauce (all by myself, bad idea). I read the directions 3-4 times to make sure I understood, I cleaned and sanitized my jars, I borrowed a water bath canner (or the pieces needed to rig one), I washed tomatoes from the garden (all of them that I had over 3 days), I sanitized rings and lids... are you getting the drift?  I was very prepared. My kids were in bed and my husband happily watching Monday night football.

My water was boiling on the stove and my ice bath waiting in the sink..... and then it all went terribly wrong... yep, from the very first step. I misread the directions 4 times! it said to boil the tomatoes in water for 30 seconds then dunk in ice water and skins will peel right off. I read.... boil the tomatoes for 30 minutes.  After about 5 minutes I noticed that they looked like they were cooking and falling apart. I re-read the directions for a fifth time and began to swear!
I made multiply attempts at salvaging my tomatoes but in the end of it all I had 1/2 a quart or 1 pint of sauce! I didn't even bother canning it, just stuck it in the fridge. ugh! Oh well, I will try again. Canning tomatoes go on sale at the local farmers market next week!

I went to bed Monday night feeling deflated and super frustrated. But after a night full of interruptions from the baby I woke up as refreshed as I get these days and decided to pull up my big girl knickers and try something else.
After a trip to the farmers market for peaches and the store for jars, I came home and got to work on peach marmalade. I called in back up this time though. A friend came over with her kids and while the kiddies played she sat in the kitchen and kept me company... and sane.
6 hours later we had 12 pints and eight 1/2 pints of the yummiest peach marmalade I've ever tasted in my whole darn life!

Here's the recipe after the changes I made:
15-17 ripe peaches peeled and cut into small pieces (thanks to Kerri I used a french fry cutter to cut the pieces even smaller, we could have been there all day with the size chunks I started with. )
4 oranges peeled  - skins rough chopped in the food processor and the insides processed to puree (if your oranges have seeds, take them out)
8 cups of sugar (the recipe called for 10 cups of sugar and only 13 peaches, that would have been way to sweet for me)
Put all above ingredients in large pot and bring to boil, cook at medium heat until reduced (the recipe said to cook at moderate heat - what does that mean? - for one hour. We did medium heat for nearly 2 hours and still had pieces of peach)
Pour into clean warm jars, put on sanitized flat and ring and process in water bath canner for 15 minutes (start timer after the water comes to boil again)

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