Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Panic

This happens every spring.  I look out onto our gardens and see all that Jamey has planted and think, "Oh. My. Word.  Where am I going to put all this food?"

Then I roll up my sleeves and set to defrosting one of our two freezers (they take turns).  This year it was the upright that needed defrosting.  The process of shutting one down not only saves electricity (for the time being) but it gives me a really good idea of what we have left in the freezer department.

I whipped out my trusty canning journal and made a list of what we have left along with notes for this year.  This helps me know what to put up less of this summer.  Here are my notes...

Not everything was going to fit in the chest freezer, so I cooked up two chickens, shredded the meat, bagged it and squeezed it into the freezer part of our fridge.  I stuck three quarts of frozen applesauce in the fridge to thaw- we'll eat those in a matter of days.  Then there were the ~16 pints of chopped frozen peaches.  We intended to use them in baked oatmeal, but blueberries often win out around here when it comes to oatmeal, so all of the peaches didn't get used.

When I saw those bags of peaches I had an epiphany.  It was not an original idea in the grand scope of things, but for me, it was.  I decided to make peach jam.  In May.  I thawed the peaches and stored them in the fridge overnight, adding a little bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.  Even though there was only chopped peaches in those bags, a lot of juice/water separated from the flesh, so prior to making the jam, I used my immersion blender to make a peach puree so everything was blended together.

Except for a slight change in color (it's slightly darker), it worked and tastes just the same (wonderfully peachy).  And, because we loved canning nectarines so much this past year, we now won't need to buy peaches at all this summer.  Our own peach trees will bear enough for us to eat fresh and now we're set with jam.

6 pints and 15 1/2-pints

I didn't expect to put my canner to work so early this year.  I gave it a little pep talk just to get it ready for what's coming.  It's got a lot of work ahead of it this summer.

Note I never said the panic passed. Pin It


  1. You've given me some great ideas! I just did a 'root cellar' and freezer inventory this past week---scary. We definitely need to eat up more. I think I know what to do with my extra elderberries and cherries now.
    Such a blessing to have abundance.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  2. Do you have any recommendations for weed control? :-)

  3. Brandy,
    For flower beds- good old fashioned sweat (and tears) especially after a good rain OR boiling water. Just be careful not to pour boiling water near plants you want to keep alive and make sure your toes are out of the way:-).

    For gardens- we use a thick blanket of hay (4-5 inches thick or more). Some weeds still poke through, but they come out fairly easy because the hay keeps things moist underneath.

  4. It's a good panic to have. Much better than looking out and knowing it won't be enough. My panic swings back and forth from panic of not having enough, to panic of having too much. I just don't know what's going to happen.

  5. all looks wonderful to me! you could always have a fund-raiser at church and sell your wonderful harvest

  6. What a great idea to chop and freeze peaches. Do you just wash, chop and freeze? Any lemon juice before freezing? What type of containers do you use for your freezer items, plastic? Glass? Plastic bags?

  7. Kimberly,
    We peel the peaches, remove the pit, dice them up and put them in plastic sandwich bags. We like the smaller bag because then it's just the right amount for what we use them for (oatmeal). We don't add lemon juice because they often aren't even totally thawed when they go in the oatmeal.

  8. That's awesome and you're inspiring me! We joined a CSA for the first time this year and the farmer's wife e-mailed asking if anyone would like to can "in halves", meaning she provides the produce and her jars and sugar/spices needed, and I provide my jars and the work and get to keep half. So, my canner will also be coming out earlier than expected. Yay!

  9. Being able to produce enough (let alone too much!) of your own food is a wonderful thing. A whole lot of work (one more time: a whole lot of work) for the homemaker but providing your family with wholesome, fresh, nutritious food is soooo important!

  10. I'm amazed by everything you know how to do & that you actually do it! I have so much to learn!

  11. Looks and sounds amazing! My husband and I just started our garden this year, and I am hoping in the future to have plenty to can and plenty to feed my family. Take care.


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