Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Well That's. Just. Peachy.

One of my latest obsessions this past year is becoming more aware of what I eat. No, I'm not talking about dieting. I'm talking about food that I consume...what it is....what's in it....and where it comes from. I've only begun to scratch the surface of this new adventure but I plan to share some things with you that I learn along the way. Don't hop on over to another blog just yet...you may actually learn something with me... and become more healthy and aware (and frightened) of these things also.

There are so many things to be aware of that it is really difficult to decide where to start rambling about this stuff. Should we discuss the toxins of plastic? The toxins of artificial sweeteners? The ill affects regular ol' grocery store meat has on your body? No. (But I'll probably discuss that stuff eventually.) So, where do we start? Well, it's summer and fruit and veggies are popping up everywhere! So whaddya' say we start there? With peaches. (Now repeat after me...Great! Sounds fun! Can't wait to learn more!....humor me already.)

I think peaches are actually the perfect place to start! Why, you ask? (No, really...I just heard one of you ask me why.) Well, because they are in the peak of their season right now and they ranked number 2 on the dirty dozen list. (Last year they were ranked number one.)

Ok, I've lost some of you. What's the dirty dozen? It's a list of the top 12 pesticide ridden foods (based on information from the USDA and FDA). In other words....it's a list of food to avoid eating unless you can buy organic. Did you know that if you avoid the dirty dozen you can decrease the amount of pesticides in your body by 80%??? Scary. Check out the link above to read the dirtiest and cleanest fruits and veggies. Print out the list and put it in your wallet so you know what to buy when you go shopping.

Back to peaches. My family loves them. My kids eat them for lunch at least twice a week. So in order to avoid poisoning my peeps, I decided to hoard some organic peaches and can them for later in the year.

Canning, you say? You must be crazy! Yes, pretty much.

Last weekend I made a trip to Whole Foods (aka...Mecca) and bought 20 pounds of peaches. Aren't they gorgey?First came the hard part...peeling the darned things. I'd read on several websites that boiling was the way to go. Simply cut an X in the bottom of the peach, boil for 30-60 seconds, then put into cold water...and the peels just slip right off!

Yeah....slip right off....my ass they do. The trick didn't work for me, so instead I ended up with 8 boiled peaches that would not peel for the life of me! Needless to say the boiled peaches didn't make the batch. Bastards.

So after hand peeling the rest of the peaches I was ready for canning. (About this time in the process Brad asked if I was having fun. Can't say that I was!) I tossed the peeled peaches in a citric acid soak so they will stay pretty and not turn brown.

Meanwhile, my jars were heating up in a pot of simmering water and my light syrup (made with organic sugar, of course) was also cooking. At this point in the game I started heating the other ginormous pot of water to process the peaches. Note to self...next time start boiling the water earlier...it takes over an hour to get a big pot of water to boil!

Brad came into the kitchen to check on me and asked, "Why are you doing this again?"

Because I love you. Now shut-up and pour me a large glass of wine.

Now I was ready to roll! I drained the peaches from the citric acid soak. Looking good!

I packed them into jars, filled the jars with my syrup mixture, and popped them into the pot of water that finally decided to boil.
Wal-lah....canned peaches!!

Shew! I actually think I will try to can more organic peaches while they are still in season. The process will go much smoother now that I know what I'm doing. Things that I will do different next time:

1. Hand peel...no matter how long it takes.
2. Start boiling the water early.
3. Pack the peaches tighter in the can.
4. Drink more.

Cheers!! And thanks for reading my first Fight Back Friday post!

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