Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Washington Bounty

This summer I learned how to can fruit.  A lovely and talented woman in my ward let me bring the kids over to watch her can peaches a few weeks ago (at great risk to all of her porcelain figurines and hand carved wooden decorations at child height).  I asked a million questions, watched her technique, and then struck out on my own.
I started out with peaches.  After freezing some, eating a lot, and baking a pie, I canned the remainder.  I am pretty sure a couple of my fingernails are permanently stained from peeling peaches, but overall I'm satisfied with the fruits of my labors.
 These were some really delicious peaches.  Washington is a major fruit exporter for a reason.
 At first, canning made me feel really domestic.
 Fifty pounds of peaches, sixty pounds of pears, and two gallons of blackberries later, canning makes me feel tired.  I think it was making pear butter that pushed me over the edge.  After about fifteen calls to my sister, Cheyenne, who had success with the same recipe a month and a half ago, I started simmering pears.  I cooked those juicy pears ALL DAY to try and get them thicker than applesauce.  I think I drained off over a gallon of pear juice in processing.  At 9:00 p.m. I gave up and decided to just can spiced pear sauce.  Here are the pears I canned the easy way.
 Blackberry jam was actually kind of fun.  Jared is a huge fan of canning, so he liked that he got to participate more with jam.  Here he demonstrates crushing berries,  
tasting pectin while the berries boil and the jars warm,
 and licking the jam spoon while he watches for steam from the canner full of jars.
Jared+jam spoon=blackberries everywhere.
 Spoils!  I wonder how long ten pints of blackberry jam will last us.  At the rate we are going through the container of jam in the fridge, we will need new jam by Thanksgiving.
 Whew.  I wonder if I will ever get all of the sticky out of my kitchen.  Now I can put my feet up until Baby Knight #3 comes, right?  Only ten weeks to go!

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