As the sun sets on summer, the peaches ripen in the back yard.
They are soft to touch, sweet to smell, delicious to taste, and of course, stunning to see.
They number in the 100s, filling all bowls.
Each peach is pitted, peeled, and diced by hand.
The diced pieces are beautiful, just like the raw peaches.
The kitchen is trashed, with an assembly line of whole fruit, scraps, diced fruit, and miscellaneous tools and ingredients.
The diced peaches are chopped finely in preparation for making jam.
Sugar and pectin join the slurry on the stove.
The boiling jam is poured into cans.
The cans self-seal with heat.
Each batch produces 2.5 pints of jam.
14.5 pints are made the first day, in just a few hours.
The diced peaches are also used for fresh pie.
Raspberries are the secret ingredient.
The pie wins no award for appearance, but takes grand prize for taste.
Pre-mixed pies are prepared and frozen, to be enjoyed when peaches are no longer in season.
The remaining peaches are diced and frozen, to be used throughout the year.
The final tally: 485 peaches processed, 39 jam jars filled, 3 pies baked, 10 pies frozen, 16 bags of fruit frozen.
The numbers would be higher, but much of the crop is spoiled by birds, bugs, weather...
The last peach of 2009 has been picked and processed. Summer is truly over.