I grew up on the north coast of British Columbia where the majority of “fresh” fruit to be found were waxy Granny Smith apples and rock-hard bananas from the local grocery store.  Our selection of berries in the summer consisted of rubbery strawberries and tasteless blueberries.

There were wild berries that grew around town called “salmon berries”.  They neither looked nor tasted like salmon and were actually quite sweet.  I have no idea where the name came from; maybe they went well with all of the salmon available for consumption in a fishing town?

When I moved to Vancouver there were numerous markets that sold real fresh fruit from out in the Valley. The berries burst with flavour, the peaches were juicy, the apples were not coated in wax.  The only downside was the cost.  The prices made purchasing the good fruit a treat for this starving student.

I married Matthew, got my designation and we moved to the Okanagan. Orchards are EVERYWHERE.  From May until October the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables at your fingers (for cheap!) is astounding.

That very first summer I did something that I had never done before. I canned peaches.

(Side note: Why is it called “canning” when you use jars?  Should it not then be called “jarring”. Though I guess “jarring” sounds less cozy and domestic and a little more, well, jarring.)

I used my friend Google to see what supplies I needed and how to go about preserving those tasty treats. I blanched, I peeled, I cut, I boiled and at the end of the night I had a counter full of preserved peaches. I was so inspired that I also canned applesauce and salsa. Two winters in a row I added antipasto to the mix (fresh ingredients not required).

This continued for a few years but then I started popping babies out left right and center and could not seem to get it together in order to do some canning. This year, I vowed, would be different. Matthew promised to help me.  We bought a twenty pound box of peaches and let them ripen.

On the day that they were perfect for canning Matthew had to attend a meeting in the evening.  No problem, said I. You go to your meeting and I’ll can the peaches after the kids are in bed. Then when I am finished I will do the laundry and edit some photos.  After that maybe I will spend some time on the Internet.

I am completely delusional. Obviously.

I started on my quest to can the blasted peaches and Twittered about it. Before I knew it I was cursing Matthew under my breath elbow-deep in peaches and thought I should vent on Twitter. I logged in and saw a reply by my friend Buzz Bishop where he recommended I watch this You Tube video by the Presidents of The United States of America.

Moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches.

I was instantly snapped out of my grumpy funk. Matthew arrived home shortly thereafter. He rolled up his sleeves and jumped right in while I bossed him around. I played the video for him and we worked as a team.

Millions of peaches, peaches for me. Millions of peaches, peaches for free.

(Sorry. I’ve been singing it for DAYS.)

When all was said and done and the jars of peaches were lined up like little soldiers on the counter I felt good. Great, even. I had preserved a little bit of summer for us to enjoy when we are buried in snow and cursing the cold.

Despite my bad attitude I think it really is worth it to preserve the good stuff.  Have you ever tasted canned peaches from the grocery store? NASTY.

Next on my list is a plum chutney recipe from Karen that is so amazing that words cannot give it justice. I might even make applesauce, salsa and antipasto.  Matthew promises that he will help from the start this time.

Do you have any canning recipes that you do every year, or that you would like to share?

Or do you think I am a crazy lady with way too much time on her hands?

Wait. Don’t answer that last one.

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Comments:

  1. Robyn September 18, 2008 12:58 am edit

    wow, I’m slightly in awe. Canning peaches, or really canning anything is very “laura ingalls wilder-ish”. They look cool though! :)

    Robyn’s last blog post..Preschool photos

  2. bethany actually September 18, 2008 1:08 am edit

    I love the title of this post. :-)

    Also, I’ve always wanted to try canning stuff but have never gotten around to it. Maybe that’s because I am actually not terribly fond of preserved fruits/veggies except for cucumber pickles. I know, I’m weird. (Yes, I’ve tried real honest-to-goodness home-canned goods before and I still don’t like them. It’s a texture thing.)

    bethany actually’s last blog post..Annalie’s song-letter for Daddy

  3. angella September 18, 2008 1:20 am edit

    I am the same with things like canned tomatoes (GROSS) and canned cherries (SICK). I can only eat those things fresh.

  4. Hannah September 18, 2008 1:47 am edit

    You’re my domestic inspiration!! I have my Grandma’s old preserving jars and INTEND to make chutney and relish, but it hasn’t happened yet. Your peaches look great!

    Hannah’s last blog post..WW: week 13

  5. joyce September 18, 2008 4:44 am edit

    I’ve never had homemade canned peaches before. I’ve only ever eaten fresh and store-bought canned peaches. And i agree that the store-bought ones are nasty. Soooo fake tasting.

    joyce’s last blog post..Best Buds

  6. slynnro September 18, 2008 7:10 am edit

    I really don’t get how you make time for this stuff. I have no children and I can barely make myself do laundry. You ARE insane.

    slynnro’s last blog post..Becoming an Everyday Heloise, I Am.

  7. Jen September 18, 2008 7:36 am edit

    Yum! I wish we had cheaper produce out this way because I would be all over canning. For now, we’ll continue to eat the canned peaches from the store which taste AMAZING to us in the middle of winter when we have had our fill of apples, oranges and bananas. ;)

    Jen’s last blog post..Lucky

  8. sizzle September 18, 2008 7:52 am edit

    Crazy? Too much time? Um, no!

    sizzle’s last blog post..Time Out

  9. orlund September 18, 2008 8:00 am edit

    Canned (or jarred) peaches are my favorite. I live in BC but it is like desert were I live. We have some fruit but would probably do better canning cactus and sagebrush. All your hard work will pay of in the winter. Hope you enjoy!

    orlund’s last blog post..Why Wordless Wednesday?

  10. Jana September 18, 2008 8:10 am edit

    Hi Angella. I’m coming out of the wood works because I was wondering if you would share your recipe for canning salsa (i’ve been reading your blog for awhile, I came across it because I know your friend Christy).

    We can every year (pickles, corn, peaches, raspberries) but I’ve always wanted to to try salsa but didn’t have a source for a recipe that i could trust and I didn’t want to go through all the work for a flop.

    Jana

    p.s. I was just in Alaska and actually tried salmon berries. as a useless and not-so-interesting fact, they are called salmon berries because (apprently) the berry looks like salmon eggs.

  11. tannis September 18, 2008 8:14 am edit

    I’ve made this peach chutnety recipe two years in a row. It requires patience, which I’m not good at, but I love it.

  12. angella September 18, 2008 8:15 am edit

    Thanks for this Tannis! I saw this as I was heading to the grocery store and bought the ingredients :)

  13. Elaine September 18, 2008 8:17 am edit

    I don’t think you’re crazy, I think that is totally awesome. Now I am just wishing that I was your neighbor and you would give me some… : )

    Elaine’s last blog post..Your Pre-Emmy Awards Show – Right Here!

  14. hills September 18, 2008 8:20 am edit

    the only thing I’ve canned is jam
    lots and lots of jam

    hills’s last blog post..I Blabber The Weird Grammar Due To Listening To Hits Like A Hammer

  15. Elizabeth September 18, 2008 9:15 am edit

    We always can pickled green beans! Yum. The best.

    Elizabeth’s last blog post..Dining Room Update. Otherwise Known As Snoozeville.

  16. Sharon September 18, 2008 9:45 am edit

    My parents run a camp, and every year the kitchen staff makes blackberry jam to sell (among other jams, fruit, etc.) that is the best I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know if they give out the recipe, but I’ve tried many home-made jams before, and this one leaves them all in the dust. It is so delicious, and now I totally have a craving for it! :)

    Sharon’s last blog post..For the love of running

  17. kristin September 18, 2008 10:25 am edit

    I have canned with my mom when I was younger, but I have yet to can anything on my own. On day I will though.

    Your peaches look great!

  18. buzz September 18, 2008 10:31 am edit

    How well do those ship? MMmmmm mail order business?

    buzz’s last blog post..Best In Vancouver Radio: Buzz Bishop Goes Back to Back and Gives Back

  19. ali September 18, 2008 10:36 am edit

    i don’t think people can in thornhill. heh.

  20. LVGurl September 18, 2008 11:15 am edit

    I grew up in Oregon until I was 13, and I LOVED picking berries with my mom and Grammy. Rather, they would pick berries, and I would trail behind eating warm berries off the vine.

    Wait. I’ve told you this story before, haven’t I?

    Anyway, thank you. I now have MILLIONS OF PEACHES, PEACHES FOR ME running through my head.

    LVGurl’s last blog post..One fire, many irons

  21. Meg September 18, 2008 11:31 am edit

    I really really really want to start canning. But as a student with 2 jobs, it’s kinda hard to find ANY TIME.
    Next year hopefully.

  22. Heather September 18, 2008 1:33 pm edit

    I listened to part of your Peaches clip while doing lunchroom supervision (8 year-olds!). I shut it off, but continued singing it my head…ahh the memories from grade 11… lucky I shut it off because I remembered the next part of the lyrics!

  23. Heather-Domestic Extraordinaire September 18, 2008 1:38 pm edit

    I have the stuff to can, but haven’t done it. I am afraid of the mess it will produce and the fact that none of my family is even remotely interested in helping. Wanna come down to Ohio?

    Heather-Domestic Extraordinaire’s last blog post..This Mommy Gig

  24. Kami September 18, 2008 2:10 pm edit

    I am still singing that song! Thanks for that ;-)

    I can tomato sauce every year from my mom’s fresh garden tomatoes and can tomatoes straight to make other kinds of sauces during the year…but since you don’t like canned tomatos that probably doesn’t interest you ;-)

    My friend just gave me peach jam she made from BC peaches. It was to die for.

    Oh and you are not crazy but? You are making the rest of us slackers look bad!

    Kami’s last blog post..Rock star in the making

  25. Rhi September 18, 2008 2:55 pm edit

    I think you should know that my uncle babysat one of the band members of the Presidents. That is all.

    And, I would now like some peaches.

    Rhi’s last blog post..Good things DO come to those who wait

  26. Elizabeth September 18, 2008 4:09 pm edit

    I can apricots and also enjoy making apricot and raspberry jam. My big thing, however, is freezing the berries so that my family can enjoy them. It turns out that my little family doesn’t eat quite as much fruit as I thought to prepare for. We’re still eating the jams of 2006 and the apricots of 2007. I guess it’s good that I can have some time off… I’m already planning for next year, though!

  27. Anna September 18, 2008 6:33 pm edit

    Not crazy at all, ambitious!! And I am totally coming over for snacks at your place this winter, mmmmm!

    Anna’s last blog post..Top ‘o’ the morning

  28. JenniferB September 18, 2008 6:51 pm edit

    My kids (ages 12 and 7) and I canned (this summer, including thes least 3 weeks) 130 quarts of applesauce, 60 quarts of green beans, 2 quarts of mulberry jam, 10 quarts and 15 pints of apricot jam and 14 quarts of grape juice. I love/hate canning. The hot, kill my feet and hands I can do without, but getting it out in the middle of our freezing Nebraska winter makes me happy.

  29. Michele September 18, 2008 8:39 pm edit

    Mmmmm…I LOVE peaches, fresh or canned! My Nana used to can all the time, she’d have peaches, pears and cherries. I love them all! As much as I dislike the snow, I do love the “cozy-ness” winter brings!

  30. The Over-Thinker September 18, 2008 8:50 pm edit

    Would I be a complete crazy person if I asked you to put the peaches on etsy? I think I want that photo for my kitchen!

    The Over-Thinker’s last blog post..I hate you, BlogSpot….(haven’t I posted this title before???)

  31. mitch of garden furniture September 19, 2008 12:39 am edit

    I have never tried making canned or jarred fruits before, but the peaches looks delicious. I love canned/jarred peaches and also jarred pickles.

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