Last week a friend and I packed up our kids and went fruit picking. We hadn't picked peaches since Dean was a baby two years ago. The trees were laden with fruit and in just an hour I had picked 70 lbs of fruit! It goes so much faster than picking berries. That afternoon I dug out my canning supplies and we got started. I hadn't canned at all since we moved a year ago. It was a slightly crazy afternoon with three kids, two moms, lots of apple sauce, and one small fire (!!) on the portable propane burner outside. It was also my mom's birthday so once we finished canning I put on a birthday dinner for her complete with a cake. I'm so glad I had decided earlier to buy a cake. There was no way I was feeling up for much of anything else in the kitchen after that busy day.
Two days later I canned three quarts of peaches. Then the kids and I peeled, sliced and froze (and ate) the remaining 20 lbs. They were very enthusiastic and helpful. I was the pitter, Gianna was the slicer and Dean was the eater on our assembly line. We now have 3 gallon bags of sliced peaches in the freezer.
I'm planning on making more applesauce and some pear-apple sauce. I think I might try canning some of the pears too. We'll see how much time I have to devote to it; peeling pears sounds labor intensive. When I was canning the peaches, my first time trying it, I thought that it was too much work and decided I wouldn't do it next year. Then I tasted a bit of the leftover simple syrup that the peaches had been simmering in. Heavenly! They might be worth the work after all. Plus, the leftover syrup is begging to be used in a cocktail.
I remembered this morning that I had planned on making some peach liquor, but had already frozen all of our peaches. Tomorrow is the last day that the farm is open for picking, so we went back this morning to pick some more. I'm hoping all of this canning and freezing will inspire to me do more. There's another farm that has boxes of tomatoes and pickling cucumbers that I'm thinking of diving into. Homemade tomato sauce is pretty amazing...