Buying and Canning peaches

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Front Step Farm is on Bathurst at Gamble Rd (just north of Elgin Mills).  It is one of the many local farms in Richmond Hill and it is run by a lovely couple who work very hard to bring everyone who is willing to stop by some really great fruits and veggies (as well as lots of fun activities for little ones if you bring them along).  They are busy making jam and other goodies to sell to the locals as well as getting their crops out of the ground and into their stand for you to buy.  Every time I drive by, it makes me want to buy a bunch of stuff and preserve it…but I have so much of my own, I have to be realistic about how much time I have!  Needless to say, I bought lots of stuff!

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Beautiful cucumbers for pickling (or for eating …I bought a small basket and have eaten half of it already!) and wonderful baby potatoes.

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Beautiful corn that made me think I should try my hand at canning or freezing some sweet local corn to use throughout the winter.

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Look at all of that gorgeous colour!  They say you stay healthy if you eat all the colours of the rainbow…

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Look for the patch of sunflowers (or the pumpkins growing in the surrounding farm)…that’s how you will know you have arrived!

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The one thing I did buy to “put up” was a bushel of peaches (actually, it was a large box which is about 3/4 of a bushel)…at $30 it was a great price for some the tastiest peaches I have had all summer.
I got busy doing other things and didn’t get around to canning them for about 3 days so some of them started to get soft spots.  I cut those ones up and got about another 14 cups of peaches to freeze for some baked goodies later (you will be getting lots of peach recipes!!)
Ingredients:
3/4 bushel of peaches (after I took out the peaches that I cut up and froze, I would say I had about 40 peaches)
8 c water
1 c sugar
Utensils:
1 large stock pot to “process” the jars
1 soup pot to boil the peaches
a medium pot for the simple syrup
12 jars with lids (if you are using old jars, make sure the flat lid is still good…sometimes the gummy rubber part gets old…throw those away!)
A paring knife
A large knife
2 large bowls (one filled with cold water and another to gather the peach sections)
1 wet, clean rag
1 dry tea towel
(canning tools are helpful but not necessary)

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Fill the soup pot about 3/4 way full and bring to a boil.  After you have inspected the peaches, put about 6 at a time into the pot and bring to a full boil ( see picture above…notice the peach squares in the back?  I think they were too dry…adjusting recipe and will post soon).

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When you can see that the skins are loosening, remove the peaches and place them in a bowl that has been filled with cold water like this….

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Take a peach (that has cooled a bit) into your hand and use the other hand (with a paring knife) to scrape back the skin….it should look like this.

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Now take section by section off of the pit like this.  I was hoping to get a freestone variety (which come off the pit beautifully) but they aren’t in season anymore.
I was assured that this variety (which is a clingstone, aptly named because it stubbornly sticks to the pit) would be worth the effort because they are so sweet!

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See the pits…I tried to get most of the peach off….this was as good as it was going to get!

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After a bit of effort, this is what you get…mmmmm….peachy goodness in a bowl!  You can see that not all of the peel came off…and that’s okay!

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In the medium pot, mix together the water and sugar; cook until the sugar has dissolved (about 5-10 minutes).  Fill the jars with the peaches and try to push them down (without breaking or mushing them)…try to leave the top inch free.

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Fill the largest pot with water and bring to a boil; throw the flat lids in to get the rubber seals a bit gummy. Pour some of the simple syrup into the jars and fill, making sure to cover the peaches but leave a bit of space at the top.  Wipe the top of the jar with the clean rag (to make sure there is no residue before you seal them).  Remove the hot lids from the boiling water and place on top of the jars.  Screw on the metal lids and place into the stock pot full of water.  Boil for about 10 minutes and remove to cool.

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12 jars of peachy goodness to savour later.  Somehow, when hard work goes into something, it always tastes better…I will let you know!
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