Thursday, August 19, 2010

peach season.

Peach season came a bit quicker than expected this year. We have had an extremely hot and dry summer, with very little rain. So the trees have been completely loaded with peaches, but they were small, green and hard and we have been waiting for them to plump up a bit and ripen. They've been very close, but not quite ripe enough to pick.

A couple of days ago we finally got rain, a really nice hard soaking rain! It rained for almost an entire day, and then continued to drizzle the next day. We have been needing rain for so long, we were so happy to finally see it! Unfortunately, it also knocked many of the peaches out of the trees. All those beautiful peaches at the very top of the trees were getting more sun exposure, and were riper than those within reach.

This is almost enough to make me cry. All these beautiful organic peaches all over the ground. We have white peaches, and once they hit the ground they immediately bruise, and sometimes split. With the ground wet from rain, they mold. Then the bees and the ants find their way inside and the peaches begin rotting almost immediately.

i have been able to salvage some off the ground but not many. As i was outside in the rain trying to gather these, i could hear them falling all around me.

So this week we have been picking peaches in the rain. Picking as many as we can to keep them from ending up on the ground. This is our small peach tree which just began really producing last year. It grew from a seed from our main tree and we transplanted it about 4-5 years ago. This one is the perfect size for my girl to climb, and she does so every chance she can get.

picking peaches!

The peaches on our main tree were a bit harder to pick, and required a bit of help from daddy!

We picked 30lbs the first day, and the trees barely looked touched. We will be spending the week, picking and preserving peaches.

Yesterday i worked on canning them, i also worked on pasta sauce earlier this week. :) Canning peaches is a pretty simple, but time consuming process. i used the directions from the PickYourOwn website. This site is a valuable resource for canning and preserving fruits. i did the hot pack method, where you cook the peaches for 5 min. in boiling syrup before packing them in the jars. Last year i did the cold pack method, and i'm not sure which i prefer. The cold pack is quicker, but the hot pack is supposed to be safer.

While searching for peach recipes i came across one for peach honey, which is made with all the peach peelings that you remove when canning. i love this idea of 'no waste' even though the peeling will end up in the compost and are not really wasted.

i used the leftover syrup (from the hot pack method) which had turned pink and was full of peach bits to make peach sorbet.

We are planning to use some of those bruised peaches to make a batch of peach wine, if we can find wine yeast locally. i don't think the peaches will last if i have to order it online and have it shipped. They also make great treats for the goats and chickens, after the pits have been removed and the rest will end up in the compost. So although it really sucks to see so many peaches hit the ground, none of it is really truly wasted.

This week while i was busy canning, my girl took some of my extra canning jars and decided to can her own food. We now have jars and jars of playfood in very interesting combinations. :) i hope this picture makes you smile as much as it does me.


  1. Awwww...that last picture made me smile....So Cute!

    There is nothing better than white peaches. Oh Yum! I had a friend that used to make a peach pie with those peaches, and it was absolutely heavenly! I have heard of making peach honey from peach peelings, and I always wondered how it would taste! :)

  2. I made two batches of peach honey last year, I was not impressed. Honestly it tasted like a simple syrup with a slight peach aroma. I even used way more peelings then the recipe called for. I have a bushel of peaches to deal with this weekend, I may have another go at it...but then again, maybe not. :/

  3. Bummer to hear that Danielle, i thought it sounded so neat. i many have to try making peach syrup instead. i'm sure i can still cook down the peelings for that.
    i raw packed my peaches today, and am not thrilled with the results. i think i'm just going to freeze the rest, if i can make room in my freezer.

  4. mmmmm I love peaches, what a treat to grow and can your own! We have some young trees but they are not producing much yet. I love that you used the skins and left over syrup, what a great idea!

  5. It must feel so nice to be able to go out and pick a healthy snack like that. I'm going to check out the link you have in this post. I think learning to can is something I should have done a long time ago. We do plan on moving back to some land so i want to be prepared for that. Thanks Tree!