Picking Peaches: How And When To Harvest Pecans
How To Tell If A Peach Is Good Or Bad?
The best way to tell if a peach is good or bad is to look at it under the microscope. You need to see the pit and the seeds inside. If there are no pits and the seeds are all intact, then it’s probably not bad. However, if you have a rotten peach, then it might be time to throw away your good peaches!
You can tell if a peach is rotten because the skin will begin to peel off. The flesh underneath will also start to turn black. Some peaches may even fall apart completely and drop from their tree!
If you want to avoid picking rotten peaches, then you’ll need to take care of them before they get too old. For example, let’s say that you’re looking for peaches in the springtime. You could either wait until the fruit starts falling off (which happens earlier) or you could pick up some ripe peaches now so that when they start dropping off later, you won’t miss out on any good ones!
Eventually, you’ll start noticing that the peaches are falling off the tree as soon as they ripen. You’ll see those nice, plump peaches and you’ll be able to pick them off whenever you want! However, most people don’t just eat them right away.
They’re going to want to store them so that they can snack on them for a while.
This is where canning comes in handy. Canning will allow you to store fruit so that you can eat it whenever you want. If you’re going to do a lot of canning, then you’ll need the right equipment.
For a small family, it’s probably best to get a small water bath canner.
This is also known as a boiling water canner. You’ll be able to place your jars inside the pot and then fill it up with enough water to cover all of the jars by at least one inch. This will ensure that the jars get sterilized properly.
You can also just place the jars in your kitchen sink and then fill it up with water so that it covers the jars by at least one inch. After you’ve done this, you’ll need to let the jars sit in the water without moving them at all for at least eight hours. This is important because if you don’t let them sit still, then you run the risk of them breaking!
After the jars have had plenty of time to cool down, you can start filling them up with peaches. You’ll want to make sure that you leave at least a half an inch of headspace at the top of the jar. This is important because it will ensure that the lids get sealed properly.
You’ll also need to remove any pits from the peaches before putting them into the jars.
After you’ve filled all of the jars up with peaches, you’ll need to put a lid on them. The best kind of lid to use is called a “canning lid” that comes with a rubber seal. This helps create a vacuum within the jar, which in turn helps preserve and sterilize the food inside the jar.
There are two different ways you can go about this. The first way is to simply put the lids on as is. This isn’t a problem for fruits, but it doesn’t work for things like tomatoes that need to be processed first.
The second way is to put the lids on and then put them into a pot of water and bring the water to a boil. After the pot starts boiling, let it continue boiling for at least one minute.
When you take the jars out of the pot, let them sit and cool off until they’re comfortable to the touch. After that, you can put on the lids and store the jars in a cool, dark place where they won’t get shaken up too much.
If you want to learn how to can other types of food or if you want more information about canning peaches, then you should consult your local Cooperative Extension Office. Many times you can find an office near you by typing in your zip code and “Extension Office” into Google.
Preserving Food with Sugar
Many types of food that you grow in your garden are going to contain a lot of water, which means they’ll go bad fairly quickly. For example, if you grew strawberries this year, then you know that they’re very juicy and have a short shelf life.
You may have heard about canning fruit and making jams and jellies with it, but jams and jellies are very high in sugar and that’s not really the healthiest thing for you to be eating.
So, what else can you do?
One thing you can do is make fruit preserves. Unlike jams and jellies, fruit preserves contain a lot less sugar and they’re also thicker because they contain the entire fruit rather than just the juice. This makes them lower in sugar and thicker, which means they’ll last longer if you have to store them for any length of time.
In order to make fruit preserves, you’re going to need a few more things than just the fruit! You’re also going to need:
Sterilized Jars with Lids – You can either do this yourself or buy pre-sterilized jars.
Fancy Knife – You really don’t need anything fancy, but it does help if you have a small knife that’s good for cutting.
Large Pot – You’re going to be doing a lot of cooking so you’ll need a large pot.
Fork or Spoon – For mixing everything up.
Steps for Making Preserves
1. Get everything prepared.
You’re going to need to make sure you have everything prepared before you start cooking anything. This means getting your jars and lids and putting them into the pot to get them sterilized. You can do this by simply putting the pot on the stove and turning the temperature up to high and allowing the jars to be boiled for at least ten minutes.
After that, turn off the heat and allow pot to cool off. You want to make sure that the jars and the lids are completely cool before you start doing anything with them or else they’re going to crack.
2. Cut up your fruit.
Of course, you’re going to need fruit in order to make preserves so you’re going to have to cut it up into smaller pieces. You can do this however you want, but generally many people prefer to just quarter or halve the fruit depending on the fruit that they’re using.
Also, you’re going to want to remove any of the bad parts of the fruit such as the seeds or any rotten parts.
3. Start cooking your fruit.
After you’ve got your jars and your fruit ready, you can start cooking everything. You’re going to need to put enough water into your pot so that it covers all the fruit once you put it in the pot. Next, you’re going to want to add 1 cup of sugar for every quart of fruit.
When you’ve got everything in there, you can turn the heat on high and start stirring everything so that the sugar dissolves completely in the water. Letting the sugar sit on the bottom can cause it to burn and create a film on the bottom of your pot, which will also cause your preserves to taste burnt.
After the sugar has dissolved fully, turn the heat down to medium and start cooking your preserves for around twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. You can also crush your fruit slightly with a fork at this point to help release more of the juices.
4. Fill the jars and put the lids and rings on.
After you’ve cooked your preserves for twenty minutes, they should be ready to go into the jars. You can fill the jars by using a measuring cup or by just filling it with a spoon. You want at least a half an inch of head space in the top of the jar so that it has room to expand when it cooks.
After you’ve filled the jar, take a clean fork and stir the preserves so that you get air into the preserves. Next, take a clean lid and ring and screw it onto the top of the jar. You only need to screw it just a few turns to get it to seal, but not so much that the ring cuts into the top of the jar.
5. Process the jars in the water bath.
You’re almost done! Now you just have to process the jars. The USDA says that you should process jars for 5 minutes, but if you’re above sea level, you should really process them for 10 minutes.
To do this, you just put the jars into the water in such a way that they’re fully under water and there’s at least an inch of water above the lids. If you’re at sea level, no need to worry about the altitude, just make sure that the jars are covered by at least an inch of water.
Once you have everything filled with water and all the jars in, you can start timing everything. Process pint jars for 15 minutes and quart jars for 20. It takes about 5 minutes for the water to heat up and then an additional 10-20 minutes for the jars to process, so plan ahead!
Ideally, you want to do this canning in the summer when you don’t need your oven for anything and can just leave the jars in there for the time it takes to process them.
6. Take the jars out and let them cool.
Once the jars are done, you can take them out of the canner and let them cool. You can then take the rings off (but remember where they are!) and check to see if the lids sealed properly.
If you press down in the middle of the lid, it should NOT budge at all. If it moves at all, then the lid didn’t seal and you’ll need to refrigerate that jar immediately.
If the lid held, then you’re ready to start using your preserves! You can store them in a cool, dark place (like a cabinet) for up to a year. After that, you can still use it, but its quality might start degrading.
Now get to canning!
Article by Ed Hancock
Sources & references used in this article:
Pecan harvesting machine by W Croft – US Patent 3,789,592, 1974 – Google Patents
Pecan gatherer by FM Goehring – US Patent 2,972,851, 1961 – Google Patents
Pecan picker by JB Wray – US Patent 3,604,190, 1971 – Google Patents
Hand pecan harvester by JE Laughlin – US Patent 4,848,071, 1989 – Google Patents
Fungi occurring in freshly harvested and in-market pecans by LH Huang, RT Hanlin – Mycologia, 1975 – Taylor & Francis
Incidence of molds on pecan nuts at different points during harvesting by LR Beuchat – Applied microbiology, 1975 – Am Soc Microbiol