I love all the fresh produce you can get in the summer! Unfortunately, our garden hasn't done very good this year, (except for the blueberries!) but I am blessed to be able to purchase some produce pretty inexpensively through a bulk buy group. I decided to try a couple of new things this summer, and I think they've turned out ok. I normally only do pressure canning, but found a great deal on a water bath canner, so I bought it and decided to give it a try. I haven't pulled the pressure canner out yet this summer, and it may just stay on it's shelf - we'll see. The first thing I did was some pickles. I found a great deal on pickling cucumbers at a farmers market in the area, so I snatched them up. I've never made pickles before, and we haven't opened them up to try them yet, but they look pretty!
Next - I got 75 pounds of peaches. My mom came over on Monday and was so nice to help me can 24 quarts of peaches, 10 pints of peach jam and 14 pints of peach pit jelly. Don't the peaches look lovely in this picture. I think I like water bathing them better than pressure canning. They don't turn as dark (at least they haven't yet), and I didn't lose as much of the liquid in the jars. They are all still this beautiful peachy color!
I learned a few things about jam and jelly as well. I've always made freezer jam, but I'm trying to empty out my freezer to get it ready for a 1/4 of a cow that we will be getting in October. So, I decided to give cooked jam a try. I've also never done peach jam. The jam is on the left and it is so good!! I have some peaches left that are still ripening and I will be making more of this yummy goodness!
The jar on the right is peach pit jelly. I wish you could see the color better. It's a really lovely dark color. I had heard some of the women in the bulk buy group talk about peach pit jelly and was curious about it. I looked in all my canning books, but didn't find anything about it, so I checked out the internet and found a recipe. You make it by boiling down the peach pits and peels. Mom and I figured we'd give it a try since we usually just throw those parts away anyway. I think it ended up being a success. The jelly is sweet with a little peachy flavor.
I'm not sure I'll get much more canning done this summer. I've got a little less than a full box of peaches to still do - probably jam and a peach BBQ sauce that I found that looks really yummy. I still have tomatoes and sauce from last summer (I think I went a little over board with those last year). I do have about 6 bean plants in my garden that are starting to produce some beans. Hopefully I'll get enough to can a few pints of beans. I'm also hoping to get my hands on some Ginger Gold Apples to dry, but that's probably it for this summer. I've got so much to do to get this house in order for the appearance of new baby! November sounds so far away - but it's almost September first. My how time flies!!