Preserving Day, freezing peaches and dehydrating tomatoes.

We are so fortunate to have an orchard here that has the heavenly freestone Red Haven Peach.  They are just wonderful and my favorite by far.  Usually large, sweet, firm and the seeds just pop right out!!  They have a beautiful rosy red hue to them and create a fragrant pink nectar.

Last year I canned and canned because we had lost everything in the freezers for the past couple of years due to our power being down for days and sometimes weeks at a time.  Now we have a generator for my husbands work that could also come home if need be to keep from losing the freezers contents.  Thus I am freezing my little heart out and we will enjoy all these lovely things in the cold of the coming winter.

Today I am putting my second peck of peaches in the freezer.  I have kept them in the spare refrigerator since I purchased them and they are ready to go.

First select the containers you prefer to use for storing the fruit in the freezer.  Plastic freezer bags are good and there are also hard sided plastic containers available.  If you need to wash and rinse them or just get them out and ready them for use.

To start the process for freezing peaches you need to put a large kettle of water to boil, cover it with a lid, and find another large vessel for ice.  I use a small plastic dishpan.  I put 4 or 5 pounds of ice in it and add some water to start it. 

The third container I use is a large,  probably 2 gallon bowl and I squeeze the juice of one large lemon into the bottom of this bowl.

Basically I am setting up an assembly line.  When  the water comes to a boil I will submerge 6-9 peaches in the boiling water for about 3 minutes.  I usually take 1-2 out and test them to be sure the skins will slip right off.  if not, I leave them another minute or so.  When I remove them from the boiling water I plunge them directly and completely into the ice water.  Adding more water and ice as needed to cover. 

The way I test is to use my paring knife and cut around the peach stone and pull the fruit into halves.
Then I pinch the stone and remove it.  Again using my paring knife I find the skin at the top and gently slide it off the peach.  At this point I swish the peach in the lemon juice on both sides and leave it to rest while I continue filling the bowl.  The lemon juice is very important as it will keep the fruit from turning dark.

When I have pitted and peeled all of the peaches I slice them into the containers.  Today I used quart freezer cartons and I added 4 T. of sugar to the top after I tamped the container a couple of times on the counter to ensure the fruit was settled snugly into the container.  From a peck of peaches I yielded 6 quarts of peaches today.  I stored they with the 6 from earlier in the week and feel certain this will be plenty for us this winter.

Dehydrating tomatoes is new to me.  Usually I have canned of frozen them.  I have heard a lot about how delicious they are so I thought I would dig out my dehydrator and give it a whirl!!

After washing the tomatoes I sliced the regular and halved the Roma tomatoes sliding my thumb down inside of them and pushing out the seeds.  I layered them in a large holed colander and salted, peppered, and sprinkled them with a bit of olive oil.  After letting the drain a bit I just spread them evenly on the dehydrator and set them at 135 degrees.  We will see what we can see!!

And wow are these little gems yummy!!!  They have gone about 24 hours now and I have taken them off the dehydrator.

The salt, pepper, and olive oil seasonings really hit the spot.  When I tasted them for the very first time it was like an explosion of intense tomato sweetness.  Really good.  I expect these would be delicious sprinkled onto a green salad or mixed in with savory snacks.  I just sealed these in zip lock freezer bags and put them in the freezer too.  Not necessary to freeze but why not?

I also took the Roma tomatoes that were halved and dried and put some in small jars and covered them with extra virgin olive oil.  I expect a lovely unintended consequence to be a deliciously flavored oil!!

Just one discovery after another!!

No comments: