It's peach-canning season.
Someone from a friend's church makes a run to Yakima every year for peaches. At $15 for a 20-lb. box, it's hard to beat the prices. This year I ordered five boxes -- one box for fresh eating (I love LOVE LOVE peaches!), four boxes for canning.
Canning 80 lbs. of peaches is a serious, day-long affair. I've found it's easiest if I set up "stations" in the kitchen. This is my scalding station:
My cooling station:
My peeling station:
My peeled fruit station:
My jar station:
and my syrup station:
This allows me to get into a rhythm. Some peaches are scalding, others are cooling, while I peel yet another batch. When I have a full bowl, I stop and slice, and fill jars...
...then top them with syrup.
Before capping the jars, I wipe the rims to get any spilled syrup or peach pulp off. This also allows me to check for any nicks I may have missed.
When the jars are all filled, the stove is then free to start processing. First I scalded my Tattler lids.
Peaches are processed in a water-bath, so I got my two biggest pots (using racks on the bottom, of course). The bigger pot held seven quarts, the smaller one five, so I could process 12 quarts at a time.
Quarts are processed at a rolling boil for 30 minutes. I set two kitchen timers up to monitor both pots separately.
After removing a batch but before putting in another batch, I pre-warmed the jars in hot water so they wouldn't break when I immersed them in the water-bath.
Batch by batch, I got the jars processed until by the end of a long and exhausting day, 35 quarts were cooling on the counter.
By the next morning, I was in more of a position to admire my handiwork.
However I didn't want to put the peaches away into the pantry until I washed the jars. There's always a bit of overflow which causes stickiness.
Then I washed the rings, a boring but necessary task.
Canned peaches are like sunshine in a jar.