When I first heard the song “Peaches” by a band called the Presidents of the United States of America 15 years ago, I thought to myself “no they don’t, they come from a tree”. I’ve spent many a hot summer’s eve out in our peach trees to know the difference. And after they’ve been picked, the real work begins.
This past weekend Margaret and I spent the day sorting, skinning, cutting, and stuffing peaches into jars. It took us the better part of the day to produce a couple of gallons of canned peaches and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I learned many years ago that part of enjoying the “fruits” of our labor wasn’t just about eating them, but contributing to the process of cultivating, gathering, and preparing them. It’s during this process where we work as a team, or get burned when trying to do it all yourself. It’s a time for us to talk about good and bad times, about the weather, and about our kids.
It’s not like mowing grass or weed eating the bank. It may have been hot but not as noisy. And the space was more confining, which was definitely in our favor this day. I didn’t have to wave to her from the other end of the field to get her attention. Needless to say, accidents happen in tight areas when you sling pans, ice cubes, peaches, hot jars and syrup around, but we walked away without any. Unbelievable but yummy, Margaret made a cobbler at the same time!
If you’d like history about canning, I’d recommend starting with Sue Shepard’s book, “Pickled, potted, and canned : how the art and science of food preserving changed the world” from our library. For a wide selection of articles from environmental science to Greek peaches check out NCLive on our webpage.