What we have here is $55 worth of peaches. It’s about 84 lbs which means I paid about .65/lb and that is a good price for this area. (I did have several go bad on me, but I got my peaches from good people who replaced the spoiled ones and therefor had no waste. If you do not have good people to get peaches from, be sure to factor in your waste when calculating the cost of canning for yourself.) So what can we do with 84 lbs of peaches? Some have to be eaten fresh. (Note: We always eat the biggest, freeze the medium-est, and can the smallest because they fit into the jars nicer). Some have to be frozen for smoothies. The rest will be canned. If you’re looking for a canning tutorial, go here. If your trying to decide if it’s worth it, stay here.
I did not weigh all the peaches but my best guess is that I had about 18.5 lbs of peaches ripe enough to can. From selection to clean up the entire process took me 5.5 hours. Following is a breakdown of the time I actually spent canning so that you can see that the entire 5.5 hours was not only peaches. I also cleaned up dinner, got kids to bed, and actually found a little time to sit. Following the breakdown will be my answer to, “Is it worth it?”
4ish – Begin canning process by selecting ripest peaches and pealing them. Sweet, helpful husband takes kids outside to play.
5:00 – Everyone comes in and husband asks, “What’s for dinner?”, “Leftovers, I guess.”, I reply as I am elbow deep in peach peel, boiling water, and general stickyness. “I’ll order pizza”. “Ok, whatever you say”, secretly relieved, but he won’t know that until he reads this post.
5:15 – Somebody wants to help peal peaches. I graciously accept the offer. I always say yes unless I have to say no to ‘help’ from the kids. Pealing peaches is actually a really great job for them to do and they remember that hard work every time we open a jar.
6:30 – Pizza is here, kids are eating and watching their movie pic-nick style on the living room floor.
6:33 – All peaches are pealed and I begin to pack them into jars.
7:00 – First batch is in the canner and clean up, phase one, begins
7:28 – Phase one clean up done and I have earned a two minute break.
7:30 – First batch is ready to come out of the canner and they are perfect!
7:46 – Second batch goes into the canner and phase two of clean up begins.
8:04– Phase two of clean up is complete so I am able to sit for 12 minutes.
8:04:22 – Realize sweet husband was not watching children so closely and found reason for baby’s contentment; a pile of paper towels.
8:04:30 – Sweet husband flies up insisting to fix problem allowing me to sit for 11.5 minutes
8:09 – 11 minutes has ended because the babies are screaming. The movie is paused in order to get them in bed.
8:16 – Second batch comes out and I have one broken jar. I have at least one broken jar every year and I can’t figure out why. Maybe it’s just one of those things.
8:20 – Last batch goes in but I had to add water and will have to wait for it to boil so I help get the babies to bed.
8:36 – Water finally begins to boil.
8:46 – Babies are sleeping, movie resumes.
9:06 – Last batch comes out perfectly and final phase of clean up begins.
9:25 – Movie is over and kids are put to bed.
In all, I am guessing that I used 18.5 lbs of peaches. I suffered one casualty and ended up with 14 jars of peaches. If all my aproximating and guessing is correct, that averages to $.87/jar. This does not include the sugar for the syrup or the lemon juice to keep them from darkening or my time. If I ever get a big enough scale I will do a more scientific approach to this instead of guesses, approximations, and averages… actually, that sounds pretty scientific. Maybe we’re OK on these numbers!
So, was it worth it? YES!
We love canned peaches around here. The kids love canned peaches so much that they beg and plead for canned peaches the minute I get them out of the canner! In the first years that I canned peaches, they rarely saw the end of the Fall. The effort expended to have Winter peaches that didn’t even last through the Fall was unacceptable. Sharing my plight with a dear friend from church, I was given a pearl of wisdom and a keen response to the nagging question, “Mom, can we have some of those peaches you canned yesterday?” Her keen response was simply, “Not ’till the snow flies”. The wisdom in that answer is that if you can give your kids a definite answer, one with boundaries and a requirement, their asking will, (most likely), be satisfied and they will begin to watch for the qualifications to have what they want; in this instance, snow. This simple phrase has saved our peach supply and the children accept it gladly and start hoping and praying for the snow to come soon. The first snow of the year is always greatly anticipated now because it means peaches.
Memories in the kitchen, family traditions, peaches in the middle of Winter for $.87/jar, (approximately), is well worth the $55 up front and 5.5 hours in the kitchen.
Is it worth it for you? Here are some formulas to help you with your decision.
pounds of peaches purchased – pounds of spoiled peaches = pounds of useable peaches
cost of peaches / pounds of useable peaches = cost per pound
cost per pound x pounds used for canning = price for peaches to be canned
price for peaches canned / jars successfully canned = price per jar