A friend of mine was kind enough to give me not only the Foley Food Mill that I needed, but also a bunch of peaches. So here's the tally:
4 pints of blackberry jam
9 pints of applesauce
14 half pints of apple butter
5 half pints of peach jam
13 quarts of peaches
Everything has gone so smoothly...
until yesterday, when I had the day from @$&% canning peaches. So there are 2 methods for canning peaches - hot pack or cold pack. I thought I would try cold pack because it seemed easier to me to just put the peaches in the jar and pour the boiling syrup over them. Wrong! I read that peaches have a lot of oxygen in them, and what happens when you pour boiling syrup over them? The oxygen comes OUT and they FLOAT! Bubbles + canning = BAD! I did everything I was supposed to - I put a knife down into the jar and tried to release trapped air bubbles, but there's only so much you can do when more bubbles keep forming. So I let those 3 jars that I "cold packed" sit and froth while I dumped the rest of the peaches into the syrup to cook for a few minutes after which they were "hot packed". I processed them all, and they all sealed properly, but it was obvious which 3 were cold packed - they are now sitting in my fridge waiting to be eaten while the other 10 are nicely labeled and shelved.
Oh, and the peach jam that I made didn't set the first time. I had to open all the bottles and let the jam just boil and reduce and then reprocess. It was not a good day.
I wish I could say I was done, but I still have a box of pears that are ripening, and 1 1/2 boxes of apples. The pears will be made into jam, and the fruit "hot packed". I am seriously considering making apple pie filling, because then I don't have to worry about the fruit floating!
I'm learning and I refuse to give up! I consider this a necessary skill. I just hope that in the process I don't poison my family! Stay tuned to this oh-so-riveting tale.