The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Peach assembly line

Cutting up peachesSudden summer temperatures (high in the mid nineties) made the peaches I picked on Monday ripen up fast.  They turned out to be the most delectable peaches I've ever eaten, and I spent hours with sticky juices rolling down my chin.  At long last, though, I admitted that we couldn't consume every one --- time to process the bounty.

Earlier in the week, I had figured out the best thing to do with peaches that develop a rotten spot while still too hard to gnaw on.  I cut off the good flesh and cooked it up in water over gentle heat, producing the most richly-flavored peach sauce ever.  It turns out that those peaches were plenty ripe to eat without additional sweetening --- it was just the rock-hard flesh that was turning us away.

With ripe peaches, though, we prefer the flavor of uncooked fruit, so I made fruit leather.  Previously, I've skinned our peaches during the preparation stage, but that doesn't seem to be necessary, although it's (obviously) essential to hack away any rotten bits and to remove the maggots in the center of two-thirds of our peaches.  (No, chickens under the trees didn't seem to lower our Oriental fruit moth pressure this spring.  If anything, the tree our chicks spent the most time under had the most moths.)

Despite ripening our peaches inside, perhaps 10% of them still came down with brown rot before they softened, so I experimented with adding the good parts of these unripe peaches into the leather mix.  Although the result is a little chunkier than when using ripe peaches, at a ratio of about 20% unripe flesh to 80% ripe flesh, the resulting leather is even tastier than without.  (I understand this is how people make peach jam too, by including a certain percent of unripe fruit.)

Ripening peachesAll of the peaches that were ripe by Wednesday afternoon filled up the dehydrator to capacity, but more were ready to go Thursday, and yet more will ripen over the weekend.  I'm carefully managing my peach stores, segregating each day's pickings in one zone on the table so they're easy to tell apart from their cohorts, then plucking out fruits that develop the least sign of rot.  Oh, and breathing in the astonishing scent of a bushel of ripening peaches.  Delectable!

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free way to hydrate chicks, hens, roosters, quail, turkeys, ducks, and more.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Do you can or freeze any peaches? I like few jars of canned peaches for cobbler in the winter.
Comment by tee Fri Jul 19 09:16:06 2013
tee --- We froze some peaches our first year, but were very disappointed by the result. I'd can peaches before I'd freeze them again, but prefer the flavor of leather since you get the uncooked fruit taste.
Comment by anna Fri Jul 19 13:01:54 2013
So news is out that Mom and you are getting together. Does that mean I get a peach or peaches? Fingers crossed!
Comment by Maggie Fri Jul 19 13:26:32 2013
Maggie --- You'll definitely get some peaches, plus summer squash, cucumbers, and probably something else we're overwhelmed by that I'm forgetting. So start menu planning. :-)
Comment by anna Fri Jul 19 13:35:05 2013
I love being acquainted with you! hahah
Comment by Maggie Fri Jul 19 13:43:26 2013

Anna how blessed you are to have so much peach produce. Peaches do not grow well in our area but apples and pears do. Just a little too cold a spring/fall weather I guess. That said I do not envy you having to work in a hot kitchen.

Our raspberries are coming off in droves right now. I will make jam out of some of it but will be canning in the garage ( hot plates)as the heat is unbearable this week.

Comment by Marlyn Fri Jul 19 15:21:24 2013
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