Apple Pie Season is here!!!

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apples

Today we kicked off apple pie season with our first pie we were making for a good friend and his wife.

You can find our super EASY apple pie recipe posted on our facebook page here:  ChasenChanceRanch apple pie

Baking the apple pie while cooking an 11 lb turkey (post for another day) sure made our house smell wonderful on this very cold rainy day!!

 

Grape Juice

This is the best grape juice you can have.  All natural, naturally sweet and full of the health benefits of purple grapes.

juices

To make our grape juice I use 12 cups of grape juice extracted (see how to do that here.)

12 cups pure grape juice

3 cups water

1 cup sugar (adjust to your taste if your grapes are sweet or tart)  There is no exact measurement as each batch of juice is different depending on the grapes.  I don’t even use sugar half of the time as the grapes are so sweet themselves.

Bring all to a boil and place into prepared jars.  Process for 10 minutes and store in dark cool place after cooled for up to 10 months (it won’t last that long 🙂 )

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Canning Peaches

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Peach season is in full swing in our location and the time to can or make jam, preserves, or jelly is right now!!!  You should also freeze some slices to make a fresh peach cobbler or use in smoothies.  You can see how to flash freeze peaches here.

I canned 17 jars of peaches in various size jars last week.  As always I make the most for our family, a few as gifts, and a few to sell.  (step by step pictures at the bottom of post)

Last week at our camp out my son and his friend wanted to catch fireflies.  We were all back at the campsite and he asked me where the mason jars were to use for the bugs.  I told him exactly where they were.  So off the boys went to get a jar.  When they returned they informed me they did not see any empty jars only the peaches so they opened one, ate the whole jar, and now had their empty jar!! UGH…can we at least save a few for winter please!!!

Here is my method for canning our peaches.  If you do not know how to can, you can google it or follow instructions I posted on another blog here:  Canning procedures

I use a hot pack method with my peaches as I believe it helps to retain their color while stored.

Prepare a large bowl with water and 1/4 cup lemon juice.

You will need 8 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar

25 peaches or more

Slice your peaches all the way around and twist the top off (see procedure at the bottom of this page)

Peel your peaches (I have been told to blanch them, however I have never found it to work for me and I like my peaches more on the firm side rather than ripe with soft skins).

Peel one peach at a time and slice or cut into chunks and place in lemon water to keep the beautiful yellow color.

Once the peaches are all sliced and in the lemon water take a stock pot and fill it with 8 cups of water and slowly add 4 cups of sugar stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring it to a full boil.  (you can use more or less sugar if you would like.  I find the half/half method good for fruit that is a bit more firm)

Using a slotted spoon add the peaches to the boiling syrup and bring to a light simmer for 6 minutes (time after you place the last peaches in the pot).

Get your prepared jars and fill each jar to the rim with peaches again using a slotted spoon.

Use a ladle and fill the jar with syrup to 1/4 inch from the top. (the peaches may float up just gently pat them down with the back of a spoon).

Using a plastic knife carefully slide it around the jar to help the peaches settle.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet papertowel.

Put on the hot lid and the screw cap until just tight.

Fill all the jars and then process them in the hot water bath once the water comes back to a boil for 25 minutes.

Remove and let cool.  Once cooled, test the top by pressing gently to make sure that it is sealed.

I know this looks like a lot of work but the hardest part is peeling all the peaches.  The rest is very simple.

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This is a great way to enjoy fresh summer fruit during the winter months!!  Please do not hesitate to ask questions if you have them!!

Peaches

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This is our 2nd batch of peaches.  Sometimes it’s very busy trying to fit in the old traditions with today’s world and conveniences.  It’s just as easy to stop at a store and buy your peaches, but there is a feeling that goes along with knowing you had the only hand in making your own things.  That is something you CAN’T buy.

Last night at 9:30 p.m.  I hot processed and canned our last batch of peaches.  It was the night before our first day of school, we also had a duck brought to our home earlier in the evening as it was stranded as a baby and we will nuture it until it’s old enough to fly off.  There were barn chores, hockey practice, dinner to be cooked, and I worked until 4:00.  So it was a full packed evening but when we open that jar of peaches during the winter, it will make it ALL worth while!!

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First batch of peaches we canned

I will share my canning procedure in a different post soon!!

Flash Freezing Peaches

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Flash frozen and ready to store in the freezer

It is peach season and they are so sweet and juicy right now the whole house smells wonderful from them.

I had bought a bushel on Thursday to can on Sunday.  The bushel had 31 peaches in it.  My children at 12 of them!!  YES 12!!!  So we had to run to the farmers market again on Saturday to get another bushel.

The farmers market is a great place to get low priced fresh vegetables and fruits.  There is a stand that sells cakes and of course the tween begged me to get a pound cake to try.  We are driving in the car and this is what I see:

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She unwraps and bites the pound cake like a cookie and the boy in the back seat has somehow reached into the back and gotten himself a peach!!!

So guess no one else is going to eat that cake and if there is traffic I am going to have to head back to the market as the boy will surely get himself another 2, 3 or 5 peaches before we make it back over the bridge home!!

So I salvaged 27 peaches out of the bushels from Saturday until Sunday morning when I canned 9 jars (will put those in another post) and I flash froze 2 gallon size bags to use for peach cobbler, smoothies, and frozen treats later in the year. 

You can’t find a good peach in our area after October and by December they are not even in the stores.  It’s a wonderful feeling to pop open a can and have some of that summer goodness during a winter storm or relaxing by a cozy fire.  My children love them right out of the freezer bag letting them thaw just slightly.

Flash freezing helps to ensure your fruit will not stick together and become a big clumpy mess in the freezer.  You can pull out one peach or ten as they will stay individual.

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lemon water

ready to freeze

laid out ready to freeze

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four hours fully frozen

Here is how I flash freeze the peaches:

Peel the peach and cut into slices (TIP on how to peel and slice peaches below)

Put the slices into a bowl of water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice (should be a large bowl).

Keep the sliced peaches in the lemon water until you are done slicing as many as you are going to freeze.  The lemon water will keep the peaches their beautiful yellowy red color and not let them brown.

Once they are all sliced line a cookie sheet with a heavy duty paper towel (I use Viva or Brawny as they hold up better).

Using a slotted spoon or your hand remove the peaches and lay them on the cookie sheet not touching eachother. 

Once they are all on the cookies sheets use another paper towel to pat them dry.

Place them in the freezer or at least 4 hours.

Remove them and they should be frozen through.  Remove them from the paper towel and place into a gallon freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 8 months. 

TIP FOR PEELING PEACHES

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Slice the peach all the way around the middle

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hold each end and twist until the top pops off

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top has no pit, bottom as pit.  Peel them both

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use knife to cut pit out

remove pit

will look like this

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Slice into size you want

Summer sweets all year long!!