Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peaches, Preserves, and the Pursuit of Simplicity

This last week was spent preserving Peaches :)
We get our local peaches from an orchard out in the country, and like many places, they offer discounts on less-than-perfect fruit :) So we ended up coming home with 2.5 bushels (or 150 lbs).
I rinsed all the fruit in small batches before we started peeling...
In the water, I added 1 tsp baking soda to get them really clean.
After blanching the fruit, we slipped off the skins and removed the pitts before slicing.
I made a light syrup of 9 cups water, 2 cups sugar--Added peaches, then using the hot pack method, added the fruit/syrup to quart jars before canning for 20 mins.
Second-Hand Treasure
We found a vintage 1950's Presto Canner & rack for $5 at a country sale nearby. It's not in the best shape, but I love it! Believe it or not, the wooden handles make all the difference. I can lift the lid without oven mitts!
But my goodness it weighs a ton! lol
For four days straight, my sister and I worked 8-11 hour days in the kitchen! To say we were exhausted is an under-statement :) I didn't realize how hard it is to stand for THAT long all day!
One of my last canned recipes was Peach Barbecue Sauce. I thought y'all may like the recipe!
(I doubled this)

5 lbs peaches (or 6 cups puree)
1 cup red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
1 cup honey
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons salt
a few drops of liquid hickory smoke (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil. On medium/high heat, boil until it reaches desired consistency, about 20-30 mins. Remove from heat, ladle into sterilized jars with 1/2 in. head space. Wipe rim, Put on your lids, and place jars in canner for 15 mins (pints) or 20 mins (quarts). Recipe makes 2 quarts or about 4 pints.
The taste is tropical to me...not a southern BBQ sauce w/ peach puree, but a light, flavorful condiment...reminiscent of a chutney. We all really like it! :)

Here's our kitchen pantry shelf so far :) This is our first season canning, so its encouraging to see we have our own preserves!
The tomatoes have been coming in slowly!
I've only been able to can a little sauce, but for the most part, we eat our tomatoes fresh or freeze them.
So far the vegetables really have to be done on a small scale, (and are ready at different times!)so that's why we haven't made a big batch of salsa yet! But I have enjoyed canning okra :)
Rinsing off Tomatoes...
My Mother bringing in the guys' laundry
Traveling for the weekend...

We visited a family who are running an Organic dairy was absolutely refreshing to sit back and enjoy the time spent together.
Before dinner, I went out to the garden with one of the daughters as she picked fresh Summer Spinach to add the meal. I had heard of this plant but hadn't seen it, so now we know what to grow next year!

We were very encouraged by their (weed free!) garden, and learned many tips that we'll be applying to our little area this fall!
Their new little calf!

It was great to watch all the dedication to getting the farm chores done as they worked together as a family. My sister and brother went horseback riding down one of the trails, and I enjoyed learning more about keeping milk goats (aka alot of responsibility! lol)

It was a wonderful visit!
From there, we lodged at a dear family's home, and had the best conversation about homeschooling! My sister and I were able to testify to how wonderful our first years of Homeschooling began, because it was relaxed and centered around the family. My Mother was able to encourage the young Mother to persevere and continue...the fruit will come :)
We had many laughs as stories were told!
On Sunday we went to home-church, and it was great to see all the families again, whom we hadn't seen in a while! The family who hosts has a lovely homestead :)
It was so green outside, and nice to admire all their beautiful flowers!

Their animals are free-range and have so much space to enjoy...It was fun to see the cows laying under the shade of the tree w/ the chickens!

The pigs were really friendly, lol!

Walking outside before we had to leave...

Family History
We stopped by my great-aunts home to visit before we took the backroads to GA, and it was a lovely time! The home she's living in was built for my great-grandmother as a newlywed in the 30's by her husband, and this oven was purchased in the 40's..and still works perfectly!
We were able to ask her questions about family history, and she went to the old family heirloom desk and took out the photo's!
In the kitchen--1950's

As she shared stories and old pictures w/ us, she talked about both the hard times and good times, and what she remembered as a girl.
They were the first family in the neighborhood to have an automobile, and she told me of the man who would come into town w/ his horse and carriage selling blocks of ice for whoever needed to refresh their icebox!
Before leaving, my great-aunt showed me the portrait of my great great grandmother, who lived through the 1860's, and post-war, which interested me since the Living History events I attend are focused on that time-period.
She told us a bit about this great womans' personality and life-- it is a blessing to have valuable info passed down for us to know.
We stopped to see my great-grandfathers tombstone.
He was a painter and carpenter, and came home after serving in WWI.

So much history!

Now that we're back home...

Tonight we were invited over our dear friends home to pick figs, and we were able to harvest quite a few lbs. So hopefully I'll be canning them soon!


"That you may take it to its territory,
That you may know the paths to its home..." Job 38:20


Ashley said...

I so enjoy your blog...simplicity is a beautiful thing!

Nabila Grace said...

Wonderful pictures as always...Love the history you shared... :o)

Sereina said...

Those peaches look good! And I love the history part you shared! You have a wonderful blog!

Anonymous said...

What an industrious family you have. I really enjoy your blog, and how precious for you to learn more about your family history.
Thanks for sharing.


Jaimi_C said...

It looks like you've busy preserving by the looks of the pantry! Oh my thats a lot of peaches. We'll be getting some in another month but all we get is 25lbs of pears and 25 lbs of peaches, so we're no where near what you've been doing. I love the older canner by the way!

Mrs. G said...

Mia, good job on all the hard work!
We can a lot and have a slightly different method of canning fruit that you might like to look at. It uses less sugar but ends up tasting sweeter and doesn't dilute the fruit. I think you'll like it! I appreciate your focus, it is wonderful to see a young lady with right priorities.
Mrs. G from Pastoral Symphony Farm

sweet locus lane farm said...

I love how you tell your story with your beautiful photo's. You are a very accomplished artist and a wonderful read.

Acacia said...

Wow. Great post, Mia!

kpaints said...

Absolutely beautiful post and pictures! Keep it up! What kind of camera do you have?
This really is the busy time of year for you. So much canning, at least you get some time to visit with friends and family.
I was delving into family history this weekend too, at our family reunion, our first!

The Girl in the Pink Dress said...

I so enjoyed this post! It looks like you had a lovely time with friends- they have a beautiful place.
Congrats on your canning! I know what you mean on standing for so long- my feet hurt so much at the end of the day, but if I put them in a pail of hot water with some lemon balms leaves in it, (or lavendar), it refreshes me right away.
*sigh*...The peaches look beautiful! Never heard of Peach BBQ sauce, but it sounds delicious. I don't have my peaches yet, but they are coming soon!
Love your pictures.
The Girl in the Pink Dress

Sophia said...

Wow, what an awesome experience, learning family history!

I love the peaches pic at the top and I admire all of your successful canning- I know how standing all day in the kitchen feels!

Carolyne said...

Your pantry shelves are divine! Isn't it a terrific feeling of satisfaction to know you made that happen? You all can certainly be proud of that hard work.

Thank you for the yummy recipe!.....I've added it to my list of "Things to Make". On the West Coast, we are a bit behind you in our harvest, so I can look forward to making it in the very near future.

Your pictures of your Auntie's house are so sweet and the visit you had, all the more precious! Treasure those special moments and keep them in your heart. Those memories will become your fond friends throughout your life.


AJ said...

Oh how I love to read your blog...such beautiful pictures and wonderful words. :) Our garden is a lot like yours...we're eating what we harvest as there isn't too much to put away. Thanks for the bbq sauce recipe...sounds like that would be good for pork or chicken or even veggie kabobs. We had more figs than peaches. I made a peach crisp and fig cake. How wonderful to spend time with friends and family. Learning from like-minded folks is such a treasure. Hearing family history from an elder relative is priceless. Hope your feet aren't too sore. :)

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all your stories today about canning, family history, visiting friends. It was an absolute delight and a total blessing. You really made my heart smile!!!!

The shelves that held your canning jars are even beautiful!!!...and I LOVE vintage seeing that old 1950s pressure canner was a treat :) :)

In another photo you show an open recipe book with a scale off to the left. From what I could see, it looks EXACTLY like the one I have in my home...The one I have was a shop scale from Montgomery WArds..probably used in a grocery store or somewhere with the bowl that sits on top..and it's folded a ltitle bit so it makes for easy pouring into bags etc...It still has the orignal colonial/cobalt blue paint..although it's chipped now..with the gold/red/black Montgomery WArd's logo :) :) :) It belong to my great-grandfather. I'm not sure where he got it...but my dad always remember's it in his garage workshop as kid.

You are a young lady after my own heart...truly...why? When you shared the stories of your family history. I used to ask my grandmother all the time to tell me stories of her family from the 1920s and earlier...Ih ave photos...some of them daguerrotypes of family members..the oldest one would be a great(times 6)-grandmother with the last name of Shaw. So I'll have to figure out how to post those. Oops..I've written a novel here. I hope you don't mind visitors who stay awhile :) :) I have a lot of friends who homeschool their kids now!! I love it... Thanks for sharing more of your life with us. It's a blessing for sure!!!
Oh, and can you come decorate my home? Your home is so lovely!!!!
Have a great day. Lots of love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

AntfarmMom said...

Beautiful pictures. Looks like you all are having a wonderful time this summer. I loved reading about your family and great aunt.

Thanks for the recipe.

christie said...

You mentioned canning okra. Have you ever tried making pickled okra? It is so yummy. Really enjoy your blog. Keep on.

Stephanie Ann said...

That is a lot of peaches! You'll have to tell us how yummy they are come winter. It was good to see a new post, we haven't heard from you in a while!

Hijabi Homemaker said...

I can't wait to try the BBQ sauce! Your photography is beautiful!

Sharyn Sowell said...

I stumbled across your blog and what a blessing! I wish you lived next door. What a gifted woman you are, and a kindred spirit. I want to dig back in and read your old posts. My most sincere compliments on a life well lived and artfully shared. Sharyn

Tracy said...

Your kitchen pantry shelves are beautiful with all of your canned goods in rows.

from me to thee......... said...

beautiful.....amazing......smiles, Linda

Simply Vintagegirl said...

Mia, your diligence and perseverance are a sweet inspiration!

I hope you and your family are doing well!

Emily Rose

Amanda said...

first visit to your blog and wow!
what a sweet place to visit.
I look forward to come back!

Laura Lee said...

Amazing pictures, Mia! It's been wayyyy to long since you last posted! [:


Lydia said...

My goodness! You are still such an inspiration to me! You fill your days with hard work and your family is so industrious! You will be such a blessing someday to a very thankful ( I am sure!) young man. We live in the Southwest and it is very difficult to grow much, especially where we are specifically, but we try! Your shelves look wonderfully satisfying. :)
Keep serving the Lord, learning, growing and listening to HIM. God Bless you Mia.
Peaceful in HIM.

scraps of starlight said...

Your blog is so inspiring and beautiful.
My daughter loves reading it with me.
I so enjoy how you share these glimpses of your simple and lovely life.
God Bless

Rosie said...

Hello Mia,
My, you have been busy!
We froze quite a few ( 5 or 6 bushels ) peaches last year, and are still eating them yet, lol.
It is always so nice to stop by and see what you have been up to. Your family reminds me so much of ours, I wish you could all stop by for a bit and stay to dinner and a swim in the pond :)
Thanks so much for the lovely visit,

Trish said...

love the family history and the jars of home-canned goods is so nice. I don't feel as far removed from these things, growing up with my grandmother ...this post definitely made me homesick :)

Jenni said...

I always learn so much from your posts! Beautifully done....

...::Heather @ Mrs. Southern Bride::... said...

Ah that peach barbecue sauce looks amazing! Love pictures. Blessings! :)

schoolingmommy said...

As a homeschol mom your blog is an delight for me to view. I will be using your sight for my daughter the coming year! And that will be a first.

schoolingmommy said...

I really can spell. LOL

Hana - Marmota said...

Your blog posts are always so packed with beautiful things, inspiration and encouragement that I feel too intimidated to comment, because I have nothing to add. *sigh*
This post, though, made me think of a quote I once read or heard - "Nostalgia is a desire to come back to places where we've never been." I don't remember who said or wrote that, but it's so very true. You posts always fill me with nostalgia. I thought you might like that quote, and that it is what your blog inspires in me... It's not a bad thing. In fact, I think it's very close to C.S. Lewis' views on desire and what he called "joy". "If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that I was not made for here." That thing.

Meredith Ivy said...

How inspiring, Mia! I'd love to see how you can your figs if you take any pictures. I picked quite a few also but have never canned them before. Thank you for maintaining such an inspiring, edifying, simplistic blog for all of us to enjoy!

Clan of 7 said...

Hello Mia! We had such a wonderful time visiting with you and your whole family while you were with us! Tell both Macy and Andrew that they did a wonderful job riding while they were here!

Shannon said...

Peaches, they look so delicious! Your blog is very lovely, and your purpose to serve the Lord in your father's home is inspiring. May your future preserving be successful, and may you continue to seek the Lord...


Jenn said...

I am so happy I found your blog, I LOVE your style!!!

Thanks so much for the recipe, I will have to give this a try at the end of the season when peaches are super cheap...hehe

Your pantry shelf is beautiful, a work of art!!!

Your mother? She looks like such a young woman herself!! Charming and graceful.

Please do share your weed-free garden tips. WE don't have a garden this year (because of just moving), and after having one last year that's a bit sad. Since we are new to it, we could use all the tips we could get. ;-)

So THAT'S what figs look like!! I've only seen the dried type. What a difference!

Thanks for the visit~

Mia said...

Thank you *so* much everyone for all the encouraging comments, what a blessing!!
I'm sorry I don't have as many posts this month...we've been kept busy!
Hoping to get a post up soon,
Your friend,

Kami Gimenez said...

Dear Mia,
I just found your blog from my friend Jessica (Cottage Capers). Now, I'm ready to do some canning, for sure! Have you ever made Peach Salsa? We bought some at a roadside stand in North Carolina and I'm dying to learn how to make some!
So glad I found your blog!

Anonymous said...

You are building on all those who came before you, and, I must say, your building is absolutely beautiful. Even though some may not have been Christians themselves (I don't know your heritage) the principles of life and living they've passed on (good work ethic, the desire to pass things and ideas on to future generations, sacrifice for others...just some of what I see in those pictures and hear in your stories) have born much good fruit in you and your family.

Stay strong! And keep posting. ;o)

Mrs. Toussaint

Anonymous said...

Hi Mia,
Such a lot of work ya'll did!! And the results are beautiful and inspiring. The pantry shelves are lovely. And that bbq sauce, oh my that sounds delish!! I so enjoyed seein the farm pics as well as your family history pics. How very wonderful your Aunt had you over and talked about the fam history with ya'll. You do a wonderful job blessin us with your blog!! Lord Bless you and your precious family. tp

Pioneer Beauty said...

Dear Mia,

I thouroughly enjoyed your visit to my site..

I look forwad to visiting with you.
Thank you for sharing the treasures that the Lord brings to you.
In Christ

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

I always love your pictures! Thanks for taking the time to post so many!


Hannah Jean said...

I just found your blog, and I really like it! I love all the old pictures :-)

~ Hannah

Eric and Hannah Avery said...

Wow, you have been busy! The peach barbeque sauce recipe looks delicious! Your pantry shelves all stocked are beautiful to see! Blessings!

Goose Hill Farm said...

Hi, Mia~

What a great post. I always love looking at your pictures. You are a very talented young woman, in so many ways!

May you continue to use your God given talents for His Glory!


janice15 said...

I love the place you are in...I dream of a little land with animals..but at my age I don't think I will get there so I have to keep my dreams...History is always a wonderful thing!

lily said...


I love your blog. will you please suggest dess patterns.