I took Friday off as a vacation day. Nice long 4th of July weekend. "Whatcha gonna do?" Co-workers asked.
"Try my hand at canning. I've got some peaches and maybe some pickles I'd like to can up."
Everybody at work knows I have a garden and most of them have tried canning at some point or another in their own lives. Most have also stepped away from it. I did too. I remember helping Dad can fruit and tomatoes but that was back when I was a teenager 35 odd years ago. (You do the math..:) Since then, modern living took the need/desire to preserve foods away from me. Why do I need to do all that hard work when there's a store down the street?
Since SM and I had our epiphany a few years ago, relearning these skills is a valuable part of our retirement goals. I want to be able to not only produce fruit and vegetables successfully, I want to preserve them too. In doing so, not only do we save money but we also eat healthier. This is just another link in that chain.
So what's it gonna be...Peaches or pickles?
The cucumbers had dwindled down overnight what with fresh eating and gifting the neighbors with my bounty. Pickles can wait a day or so but the peaches HAD to be processed.
Purchased last Saturday, they had spent the better part of last week on a towel covered up with dish towels to allow them to ripen. Twice a day I would check them and a few turned into moldy lumps within hours. The sign on the front door should read "Beware! Interesting science project on the kitchen table." Even the cat started to stay way.
Today was the day for what fruit remained. If they were still not ripe, more jam. (Insert SM screaming "Not more jam!" here.)
I tossed 1 peach into the hot water and the skin slid off nice and easy. Now to cut. Will it separate, is it still green? No, it seemed alright. Onwards and upwards!
So I canned up 6 quarts of peaches. I'm not sure how I feel about it all. I'm exhausted!
Please understand, I tend to be a high maintenance type of girl when it comes to learning new skills. You know...Type A. I wanna do it right the first time.
Yeah, I know that mistakes are a part of the game, but I'm hard-wired to try and avoid mistakes whenever I can. This type A girl is also a "Show Me" kinda learner. I can learn a lot from books and from experimentation on my own but I'd rather have someone show me how. Once I see it done and can ask the expert all the Q & A's then my self confidence skyrockets and it's full steam ahead.
SM was my expert on duty today. "Does this look right. Is this enough liquid? Is it supposed to boil slowly like that?" I ask (hovering around).
SM - "Looks good to me. Fill it up to there. Chemistry 101, Tami...212 degrees means boiling. One bubble or a hundred it doesn't matter."
"Ummm, I got a C in chemistry remember?"
(*Little know fact. I went back to school in my early 30's with the intention of becoming slightly MORE skilled in my chosen health care field...if you get my drift. Chemistry was my failure. I couldn't understand it and if you're hoping to have a d and an r in front of your last name, then you had to "get it". SM likes to point out to me that he's still bitter over the fact that he'd be living the good life as a "kept man" if I had not quit school.) "Yeah, yeah, yeah...Always a bridesmaid never a bride. Talk to the hand." I replied.
SM is my rock. (Thank God for rocks!)
The only thing that bothers him is when his beloved wife turns into a flake. And then he goes and finds something else to do. Preferably something far away from me. Like something out in the garage, or down the street, or in the next county.
Some days I even wear myself out...(grin)
So how did they come out?
Classic rookie mistake. I didn't pack tightly enough. Everything is sealed though, so I think I'll put them on the shelf and keep my eye on them. See if anything grows.
And guess who else couldn't take it. My electric stove. The burner the canner sat on died. Burned it out. Couldn't take the heat!