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Why Keep the Rooster with Your Flock?

Why would you keep the rooster? The general feeling from most chicken keepers seems to be just the opposite. Rightly so in the case of neighborhood rules, or possibly having small children around. But in many cases, if you keep the rooster, your flock will benefit from a good leader.

When you picked up your chicks this year, the little fluffy balls of fun were so cute! No doubt one was your favorite. Now that the chicks are reaching 10 to 12 weeks of age, you have begun to notice something a little different about your favorite chick. It may be slightly bigger, stand a little taller, have bigger feet and it may be growing a slightly more noticeable comb or wattles. You may have a rooster! But will you keep the rooster?

Sexing Chicks is Rarely 100% Correct

Before you get upset and jump to possibilities and options, lets explore some reasons why you might want to keep the rooster. If you can legally keep the rooster in your neighborhood or town, there are some good reasons to have one around. You may have heard that a rooster is mean, ornery, and dangerous. These reasons can be true but they are not always the case. (Read more about Cranky Roosters in this post.)  I am not advocating keeping an overly aggressive rooster.

I find the roosters are a great addition to our flock. We currently have fourteen roosters. Before you make a move to have my sanity checked, let me tell you that they are not all staying! But we do keep quite a few throughout our six flocks. They work hard every day, keeping the hens safe. Let me explain a few reasons that I am glad we keep the rooster.

The Rooster as a Peacekeeper

Peacekeeper – The rooster in a flock is in charge. He will assume this role and do what he has to do to maintain his position. Other roosters may be able to be part of the flock, too, as long as they don’t challenge him. In addition, the rooster will keep the hens from squabbling among themselves. In the absence of a rooster, a hen will often take the role of flock leader.

keep the rooster

Keep the Rooster for Flock Protection

Protection – Roosters are on alert most of the day, watching for predators, alerting the hens, and making sure they take cover. While the hens are dust bathing or eating, the rooster will stand guard and stay alert to possible danger. When a hawk or some other predator is spotted, the rooster will sound the alarm. He is calling the hens back to safety. If they free range, this might be a bush to hide under, or the nearby coop. In our case, with multiple roosters, the alarm is picked up and the other roosters begin to gather their hens too. It’s quite amazing to witness.

The Rooster will Provide

Providing – The rooster will search out tasty food bits and call the hens over to enjoy the snack. He makes sure that his hens get started eating first in the morning and then he begins to eat too. In addition, roosters provide the necessary actions for having fertile eggs, in case you want to hatch out eggs in an incubator or let a broody hen set on a clutch of eggs.

Keep the Rooster

The Crowing?

Crowing–  Now I am sure you are wondering how I can put a positive light on this noisy ear splitting wake up call. First, roosters don’t necessarily start crowing before  dawn. Ours will often stay quiet until they hear me in the feed shed, dishing up breakfast. Roosters crow to warn other roosters to stay away. They also crow to celebrate, such as when breakfast arrives, after mating, or to show pecking order. In addition, they will crow to let the hens know the location of the flock, when it’s time to head back to the coop at night and various other reasons. But the best reason for flock security would be the crowing to warn of an approaching visitor.

keep the rooster

While you may decide to re -home your cockerel and just keep the pullets, I am very glad I kept one particular oops rooster. Even though I ordered all pullets, we received a rooster in the bunch. He is a white rock cockerel who we named King.

I see benefits and uses when you keep the rooster. Let me know how your surprise roosters turn out.




Water Glassing Fresh Egg Storage

Spring brings on the egg laying which can quickly lead to an abundance of fresh farm eggs. What methods work for fresh egg storage? One method called water glassing has been around since pioneer days and probably earlier. Is this method of fresh egg storage safe? Let me share with you what one of my friends learned using this method. Barbara Whitford Fox wrote the following guest post for this site. Barbara and her husband farm in Utah and she can be messaged through Facebook or Instagram.

fresh egg storage using the water glass method

Guest post by Barbara Whitford Fox

During the late fall and winter, our chickens don’t produce quite as many eggs as we would like. One of the things I love about the homesteading lifestyle is the self sufficiency. It bothers me when I have to buy eggs. Food preservation is a key aspect of homesteading and self sufficiency. I began to look at different ways to preserve eggs. Freezing eggs individually is one method. Dehydrating cooked eggs is another but the amount of work seemed daunting to me. Pickled eggs are also good but not for everyday. None of these methods gave me the fresh egg satisfaction that I was seeking.

Water Glassing for Fresh Egg Storage

In my research I learned about a way to preserve fresh eggs. There are numerous ways to get longer storage of fresh eggs. This method uses no electricity and no fancy equipment. The water glassing method was used in the 1800’s. Deciding I had only the risk of it not working and ending up with rotten eggs, I set up my experiment.

The following describes the method I used for water glassing fresh eggs storage. Here are the items you will need.

  • three gallon food safe plastic bucket with a lid
  • pickling lime-https://amzn.to/3mZAzxS (calcium hydroxide) often found where canning supplies are sold Other names may include slaked lime or hydrated lime.
  • clean water. If your water is high in iron or other mineral content, you may want to purchase distilled water.
  • scale for measuring the lime. (8 ounces of lime by weight for each quart of water)
  • eggs! 7 or 8 dozen will fit in the bucket but you can preserve the amount you choose. Do not wash the eggs. Use eggs clean of dirt.
 white food grade three gallon bucket

The bucket can be found in the paint department of home improvement or hardware stores. A large crock can also be used for water glassing fresh egg storage, but the crock will be heavy once filled.

Using the clean water, and weighed lime, stir to mix the two together and dissolve the lime. Some people suggested boiling the water before adding to the lime for easier dissolving. I used cold water and the lime never fully dissolved. Next time I will boil the water first. Cool the water to room temperature.

Collecting the Eggs to Preserve

You will want to use fresh eggs that you collected recently. (Within the past few days) Do not wash the eggs as that will allow the lime to seep into the eggs. Washing the eggs will remove the bloom on the egg that is added as the egg is laid. It protects the egg from bacteria. For this reason, do not use store purchased eggs for water glassing!

fresh egg storage

Start adding eggs to the bucket of lime water. As you add eggs, try putting them in pointy side down. When you add more eggs it’s easier to get them to stay that way! I ended up with about 80 eggs in a 3 gallon bucket. Honestly, I lost track of how many but this is a close estimate.

Did it Work as a Method of Fresh Egg Storage?

I began the experiment at the beginning of September. I left the eggs at room temperature until the middle of February. It was time to try the eggs. Did this fresh egg storage method work?

fresh egg storage water glass method of egg storage

First, I broke a fresh egg from that day’s collection into a glass bowl. Taking a second glass bowl, I broke a water glassed egg into it. Side by side the eggs were identical. Both eggs smelled exactly the same. Now it was time for a taste test! The water glassed egg was dropped into the frying pan and a little salt and pepper added, just as I do with our fresh eggs. I took a bite. Amazing! It tasted just like the fresh eggs we had for breakfast that morning. Six months in the water glassing solution and the eggs are as fresh as they can be. I am super excited to have found and tested this method.

Fresh egg storage

What You Need to Know…..

A few things you should know when you have your own water glassed eggs.

  • If you are going to hard boil the water glassed eggs, first do a pin prick through the shell. After sitting in the water glassing solution, the egg shells are no longer porous, and will quickly pop when you start to boil or steam the eggs.
  • Rinse the water glass preserved eggs well before use. The lime water will cause the eggs to curdle if it drips into the bowl of fresh egg.
  • The eggs will feel very smooth when removed from the solution.
  • Store the bucket or crock in a cool area of the house, out of direct sunlight. This is true of any preserved food.

The water glassing method is said to preserve fresh eggs storage for up to two years. I am not sure I want to do that. For our family, keeping the eggs fresh for six to eight months is plenty of time.

Editor note: The recommendation is to store and use the eggs within the same year. Older water glass preserved eggs can start to rot.

fresh eggs in bowls

A Word About Using Lime

It isn’t expensive. If you’ve found yourself with quite a bit of lime left over after this process, you can use the lime in the creation of other pickled items. Although pickled eggs do not call for the use of pickling lime, here’s a tasty recipe for pickled eggs should you want more than one fresh egg storage idea.

If you are looking for a lime product specifically made and safe for chickens and livestock, look for First Saturday Lime.

I love the connection to the past that this method brings. I was talking to my father who is 84 years old. He remembers going into the pantry when he was young and getting eggs out of a big bucket of water. Of course he had no idea at the time that it was lime water. This was just how they preserved eggs on the farm. I love that we can use this method and bring back some of the old ways to our homestead.




Shop Small Guide for Homestead and Independent Businesses

Two glasses of mulled wine for Christmas and winter holidays on the wooden table.

The businesses included in my shop small guide, are folks that I personally know or do business with. Did you know that your buying decisions have a wide reaching impact? Where you spend your money is your decision. And thank God for that! For years I was in the position of owning a brick and mortar storefront. Let me tell you, we depended upon people choosing to shop small.

Things have changed and now I have an online shop at my Timber Creek Farm Etsy shop. These days my inventory is stored in nooks and crannies and baskets throughout the house. Instead of shop hours, my shop is open 24/7! Every single time I see a purchase come through, big or small, I am thankful.

The lists below feature those business owner I know and do business with. It’s my hope that you’ll get to know them too when you look through what they have to offer and when you purchase gifts through these shops.

shop small guide to soaps and body products
Photo credit www.5Rfarm.com

Shop Small Guide to Soap and Body Care Gifts

The difference between handmade, well crafted soaps and commercial brands is astounding. You may have already discovered this for yourself. Why not spoil gift recipients on your list with the real deal. Here are some of my favorite creators. Buying from small shops listed in this shop small guide or other resources will do much good this year!

Yarn and Yarn Creations

Y’all know this is a subject close to my heart. And while I would love to have you shop from my store. I know I can’t be all things to all tastes and yarn needs. So here are a few of my favorite yarn or creative product sellers.

Shop Small Guide to Farm Products

We all need some sort of support if we raise animals and poultry. These are my favorite vendors for farmwear, animal feed, poultry treats, as well as barn and coop products.

shop small guide to farm products

Pottery and Candles

While I don’t have many recommendations in this category, I can assure you that these businesses are top notch. I can assure you that any one of the vendors on this list will be glad you read about them in the shop small guide!

Homestead Products for You, Your Home and Barnyard

White Chicken
Shop small guide

When the person on your lists needs something to make their daily chores and home life easier or more comfortable, or more delicious, these are some vendors that can help make that happen.

Books and Courses

Learning should never end. It should be a lifelong process. These small business owners know that and strive to teach as many people as possible through books they’ve written or courses that they’ve developed.

I hope this shop small guide has given you some awesome gift ideas for your shopping list. Check back because I will be adding to the list as I am sure I left off some of my favorites!

shop small guide



Can Chickens Eat Mashed Potatoes?

can chickens eatCan chickens eat mashed potatoes? Believe it or not, too much of any food can upset the delicate balance in the chicken’s digestive tract. Being Omnivores means that technically, chickens can eat anything they want to eat. Their diet in the wild would consist of varied plants, bugs, dead animals, and live rodents. However, they have some of the choice taken away from them when we keep them in coops and runs.

Faced with a delicious plate of mashed potatoes, next to the regular dish of layer feed, the chicken is going to binge eat those potatoes! In the wild, they wouldn’t have this handed to them in such a great quantity. And there’s the key to the question, can chickens eat mashed potatoes. They can, but everything should be offered in moderation. Offering too much of any food besides layer feed, free range grasses and bugs, can lead to stomach upset. 

Can Chickens Eat Vegetables Fresh From the Garden?

What about other foods commonly left over from our family meals. Cooked vegetables are almost always ok to serve to your chickens. Can chickens eat all vegetables raw, right from the garden? The answer to that would no. Some raw vegetables contain chemicals that are toxic to chickens. Vegetables from the nightshade family includes, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. The solonine in these plants is the toxic substance that can build up in the chicken and cause toxicity and death. The fruit of the tomato and the pepper is fine in moderation, when it its fully ripe. Never allow your chickens to feast on the tomato plants, pepper plants or any of the green leaves from the nightshade family.

can chickens eat

Note* Sweet Potatoes are not from the nightshade family. They are from the morning glory family and the sweet potato and the leaves are both safe to eat.

 

Greens – Most greens are good for chickens. The exception would be spinach which contains a heavy amount of oxalic acid. This compound, in large quantities can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Small amounts of spinach aren’t a problem but large or frequent feedings of spinach, beet greens or Chard might lead to soft egg shells.

The leafy lettuces, kale and other greens are great treats for the flock. 

Can Chickens Eat Dairy Foods Like Cheese, Milk, Yogurt?

During a recent episode of viral information on social media, a discussion was going on about whether or not chickens can have dairy foods without consequences. There was a huge response with people again arguing that they do so all the time, and have no stomach upset in the flock. Others mentioned that chickens lack the enzyme necessary to digest milk protein (lactose). Yogurt can provide a boost of calcium, protein, energy, and probiotics and yes yogurt is a healthy food for humans. Chickens can benefit from small amounts of unsweetened plain yogurt. It does provide some probiotic benefits. 

However, it is a dairy product. Large amounts of dairy are not good because it can lead to loose stools and upset stomachs. So again, we come back to that age old rule of moderation and small amounts. Feeding a large bowl of yogurt might not kill your chickens or lead to toxicity but it probably will cause some digestive upset.

can chickens eat

Most Chickens Don’t Like Citrus Fruit

There are differing opinions on feeding citrus. There isn’t any definite evidence that it is harmful. Too much citrus and vitamin C, can lead to weaker egg shells because it interferes with Calcium absorption . I am not too worried about this because mine reject citrus fruit anyway. I have heard this from many other chicken owners. 

can chickens eat

Meat Scraps

Being omnivores, chickens can handle eating meat protein. Have you seen the excitement when they catch a field mouse? Even a snake is a delicious form of meat. So feeding them the carcass from a roasted chicken, if you aren’t making bone stock, is fine. Fried or fatty meat should be avoided and anything cooked in a heavy sauce could lead to diarrhea.

can chickens eat

Legumes and Beans 

Fully cooked beans can be fed to the chickens. Raw beans of all kinds contain hemaglutin which is a natural insecticide and toxic. The cooking or sprouting of beans or dried beans destroys the chemical and then the beans are safe to feed to the chickens. So your leftover green beans and other legumes from dinner are perfectly fine to give as a treat.

A Few Other Foods to Mention 

Onions and Garlic are from the same family but contain different chemical make up. The allium family, particularly onions, contain large amounts of thiosulphate, a toxin. It is interesting though, that garlic contains very little thiosulphate. Garlic is completely safe and extremely healthy to add to the chickens diet.

Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol are three of my favorite treats. But the chickens should have none of these substances.

Avocados– These actually do contain a fatal toxin in some parts of the avocado. I do not give any part of this to my flock.

Apples– Some people may mention that fruits with seeds and pits can be toxic, too. They can but it’s a much lower toxicity and mostly the chickens will just eat the fruit. To be safe, cut up the apple and don’t feed the cores. Remove the peach pits. This is not a problem with watermelon which is a favorite treat!

Rhubarb – This is toxic in so many parts that I wouldn’t take the chance of feeding it to my flock. The leaves are toxic to people too so be sure to avoid them in your foraging.

can chickens eat

Toxin Build Up in Chickens

I know many will read this and argue that they or their grandparents always fed the chickens green tomatoes, or onions, or any number of things, and no chickens died. And they would be correct. Very few toxins will kill people or animals immediately. However, toxins eaten on a regular basis or in such an amount that buildup occurs over time, will die or become sick. You may not tie it back to the potato peels you fed to the chickens three times a week. Or the free ranging in the garden where they had access to pepper plant leaves and potato vines.

It’s the same with people. Toxins in our food build up in our bodies over time. We are just beginning to realize that plastic packaging, chemical dyes, and other contaminants can cause problems with kidneys, nervous system, and the heart. The liver is a prime candidate for toxin build up leading to disease too. Our poultry and livestock are no different. They can eat many different foods that we share with them. It doesn’t mean it is without risk or without an effect further down the road.

What to do 

My final point to answer the question “can chickens eat…?” is this. As our grandmothers said, everything in moderation. In the past, few farmers kept a large flock of chickens over the winter. The best layers might have been kept but most were processed for food so they didn’t have to be fed through the winter when free ranging food was scarce. Not keeping hens past a year or two probably didn’t show the toxicity symptoms that might show up in older hens. This is your flock. You get to make the decisions. Remember that not every bad decision will have an immediate consequence. Also, not everything you do is not going to endanger the life of your chicken.

Feeding a good quality layer feed, supplemented with safe foraging and free ranging, and delicious safe treats from your kitchen will help you keep a healthy flock. Meal worms and dehydrated grubs are tasty treats that normally don’t lead to problems. Remember that the answer to “can chickens eat” this food is, only in moderation. 

 

can chickens eat

can chickens eatCan chickens eat mashed potatoes? Believe it or not, too much of any food can upset the delicate balance in the chicken’s digestive tract. Being Omnivores means that technically, chickens can eat anything they want to eat. Their diet in the wild would consist of varied plants, bugs, dead animals, and live rodents. However, they have some of the choice taken away from them when we keep them in coops and runs.

Faced with a delicious plate of mashed potatoes, next to the regular dish of layer feed, the chicken is going to binge eat those potatoes! In the wild, they wouldn’t have this handed to them in such a great quantity. And there’s the key to the question, can chickens eat mashed potatoes. They can, but everything should be offered in moderation. Offering too much of any food besides layer feed, free range grasses and bugs, can lead to stomach upset. 

Can Chickens Eat Vegetables Fresh From the Garden?

What about other foods commonly left over from our family meals. Cooked vegetables are almost always ok to serve to your chickens. Can chickens eat all vegetables raw, right from the garden? The answer to that would no. Some raw vegetables contain chemicals that are toxic to chickens. Vegetables from the nightshade family includes, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. The solonine in these plants is the toxic substance that can build up in the chicken and cause toxicity and death. The fruit of the tomato and the pepper is fine in moderation, when it its fully ripe. Never allow your chickens to feast on the tomato plants, pepper plants or any of the green leaves from the nightshade family.

can chickens eat

Note* Sweet Potatoes are not from the nightshade family. They are from the morning glory family and the sweet potato and the leaves are both safe to eat.

Greens – Most greens are good for chickens. The exception would be spinach which contains a heavy amount of oxalic acid. This compound, in large quantities can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Small amounts of spinach aren’t a problem but large or frequent feedings of spinach, beet greens or Chard might lead to soft egg shells.

The leafy lettuces, kale and other greens are great treats for the flock. 

Can Chickens Eat Dairy Foods Like Cheese, Milk, Yogurt?

During a recent episode of viral information on social media, a discussion was going on about whether or not chickens can have dairy foods without consequences. There was a huge response with people again arguing that they do so all the time, and have no stomach upset in the flock. Others mentioned that chickens lack the enzyme necessary to digest milk protein (lactose). Yogurt can provide a boost of calcium, protein, energy, and probiotics and yes yogurt is a healthy food for humans. Chickens can benefit from small amounts of unsweetened plain yogurt. It does provide some probiotic benefits. 

However, it is a dairy product. Large amounts of dairy are not good because it can lead to loose stools and upset stomachs. So again, we come back to that age old rule of moderation and small amounts. Feeding a large bowl of yogurt might not kill your chickens or lead to toxicity but it probably will cause some digestive upset.

can chickens eat

Most Chickens Don’t Like Citrus Fruit

There are differing opinions on feeding citrus. There isn’t any definite evidence that it is harmful. Too much citrus and vitamin C, can lead to weaker egg shells because it interferes with Calcium absorption . I am not too worried about this because mine reject citrus fruit anyway. I have heard this from many other chicken owners. 

can chickens eat

Meat Scraps

Being omnivores, chickens can handle eating meat protein. Have you seen the excitement when they catch a field mouse? Even a snake is a delicious form of meat. So feeding them the carcass from a roasted chicken, if you aren’t making bone stock, is fine. Fried or fatty meat should be avoided and anything cooked in a heavy sauce could lead to diarrhea.

can chickens eat

Legumes and Beans 

Fully cooked beans can be fed to the chickens. Raw beans of all kinds contain hemaglutin which is a natural insecticide and toxic. The cooking or sprouting of beans or dried beans destroys the chemical and then the beans are safe to feed to the chickens. So your leftover green beans and other legumes from dinner are perfectly fine to give as a treat.

A Few Other Foods to Mention 

Onions and Garlic are from the same family but contain different chemical make up. The allium family, particularly onions, contain large amounts of thiosulphate, a toxin. It is interesting though, that garlic contains very little thiosulphate. Garlic is completely safe and extremely healthy to add to the chickens diet.

Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol are three of my favorite treats. But the chickens should have none of these substances.

Avocados– These actually do contain a fatal toxin in some parts of the avocado. I do not give any part of this to my flock.

Apples– Some people may mention that fruits with seeds and pits can be toxic, too. They can but it’s a much lower toxicity and mostly the chickens will just eat the fruit. To be safe, cut up the apple and don’t feed the cores. Remove the peach pits. This is not a problem with watermelon which is a favorite treat!

Rhubarb – This is toxic in so many parts that I wouldn’t take the chance of feeding it to my flock. The leaves are toxic to people too so be sure to avoid them in your foraging.

can chickens eat

Toxin Build Up in Chickens

I know many will read this and argue that they or their grandparents always fed the chickens green tomatoes, or onions, or any number of things, and no chickens died. And they would be correct. Very few toxins will kill people or animals immediately. However, toxins eaten on a regular basis or in such an amount that buildup occurs over time, will die or become sick. You may not tie it back to the potato peels you fed to the chickens three times a week. Or the free ranging in the garden where they had access to pepper plant leaves and potato vines.

It’s the same with people. Toxins in our food build up in our bodies over time. We are just beginning to realize that plastic packaging, chemical dyes, and other contaminants can cause problems with kidneys, nervous system, and the heart. The liver is a prime candidate for toxin build up leading to disease too. Our poultry and livestock are no different. They can eat many different foods that we share with them. It doesn’t mean it is without risk or without an effect further down the road.

What to do 

My final point to answer the question “can chickens eat…?” is this. As our grandmothers said, everything in moderation. In the past, few farmers kept a large flock of chickens over the winter. The best layers might have been kept but most were processed for food so they didn’t have to be fed through the winter when free ranging food was scarce. Not keeping hens past a year or two probably didn’t show the toxicity symptoms that might show up in older hens. This is your flock. You get to make the decisions. Remember that not every bad decision will have an immediate consequence. Also, not everything you do is not going to endanger the life of your chicken.

Feeding a good quality layer feed, supplemented with safe foraging and free ranging, and delicious safe treats from your kitchen will help you keep a healthy flock. Meal worms and dehydrated grubs are tasty treats that normally don’t lead to problems. Remember that the answer to “can chickens eat” this food is, only in moderation. 

can chickens eat



Cooking Peaches, Preserved, Baked and Delicious

Cooking Peaches- The Ultimate Summer Fruit

Peaches preserved baked delicious

Summer fruit brings to mind tomatoes, nectarines, plums, peaches and more. My favorite remains peaches. For sweetness and aroma cooking peaches can’t be beat. Preserving this summer goodness is easy. While you’re at it, save enough to enjoy now with ice cream, fruit toppings, fresh fruit salsa and in baked goods.

Start with fresh ripe peaches with little to no overly ripe soft spots. Choose for the delicious aroma, also. Whether you grow your own or buy from the local farmer’s market, harvesting and buying and cooking peaches, at the peak of the season will give you the best taste and texture.

Peaches

Preparing Peaches for Canning or Freezing

Soft fruits, such as peaches, tomatoes and nectarines are easy to prepare for canning or freezing. Once the fruit has been quickly blanched in a simmering pot of water,then, removed to a pot of ice cold water, the skin slips right off. The peach often practically splits open for easy removal of the pit. The peach halves can be canned as is, in a simple syrup or plain water. Or, you can slice, dice or chunk the peaches. Add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice or citric acid, to keep the fruit from browning. Mix to distribute the lemon juice throughout the fruit.

cooking peaches

At this point, you can place the peaches into freezer bags or into canning jars. I use a slotted spoon so I don’t get a lot of liquid in with the peaches I am freezing. Freezing is easy but has a shorter shelf life than canning due to possible freezer burn. I use a sturdy zip lock style freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. I flatten out the peaches into a single layer in the bag, which makes it easier to stack the bags in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, thaw the peaches in the bag in a refrigerator. 

Using the Skins

(note: if you have farm animals or chickens that you like to treat to your kitchen scraps, be aware that pits and seeds can be toxic. I do not feed peach pits to my farm animals for this reason. The skin however, is a welcome tasty treat)

Canning Peaches to Enjoy Later

Fill the jars with the cut up or sliced peaches. Add the peach juice and boiling water to fill the jar within a half inch of the top of the jar. Wipe off the rim of the jar with a clean wet cloth. Add the flat lid and the band to close the jar.

Process canned peaches for 25 minutes for pints and 30 minutes for quarts in boiling water in the Water Bath Canner.   Look for other recipes such as brandied fruits, peach jam and jelly and peach pie filling to use your peaches with, also. Since peaches are a high acid fruit,(pH under 4.5)  you will can most peach recipes using a hot water bath canner.

Other High Acid Fruits

Apples, peaches, tomatoes, nectarines, citrus fruits, pears and berries fall into the category of high acid fruits. It is important to use an approved canning recipe when using a hot water bath canner, because the acidity must be in a certain range. If you add non-acidic ingredients to the peaches, the total acidity will be lower, making it unsafe to can using a water bath canner.

peaches preserved baked and delicious

Dehydrating/Drying Peaches for Storing

Peeled peaches can also be dried or dehydrated for long term storage. I use an electric dehydrator,  but you an also use a sun oven for the same purpose. Store your dehydrated peaches in an air tight container or mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Use the dehydrated peaches in trail mix, and bake into cakes, or eat plain.

Eat Fresh!

While you have the abundance of good fresh peaches in front of you, don’t forget the obvious opportunity to enjoy them fresh. Serve peeled sliced peaches with ice cream, cereal, plain, and keep a few on hand for lunch boxes. We prefer our peaches cold from the refrigerator but they can sit in a bowl on your counter or table, taking a turn at being a summer decoration, too. Grab one as you run out the door, for a healthy snack. Cooking fresh peaches into a thick topping is delicious when added to homemade vanilla ice cream!

peaches preserved baked delicous

Baking with Peaches

As you can imagine, cooking peaches is amazing when baked. This will be a delicious way to enjoy the harvest. Peaches taste and smell like summer. The cakes, pies, crumbles, cobblers, quick breads and triffles you make with your fresh peaches will prolong the taste of summer. Preserving the peaches from the season gives you the chance to enjoy peach pie and peach cake for any occasion, all year long.

The Recipe

When I was on an extended stay in Georgia one summer, when my little Georgia Peach granddaughter was born, I really enjoyed baking for her family. I came up with a peach cobbler recipe one day, by melding together a few different recipes from the internet search. Some weren’t quite what I was looking for and some were just full of ingredients that we didn’t have on hand. I came up with an experimental cobbler that turned out to be very popular! After all, isn’t this what Grammas do? One trick I learned while developing the cobbler recipe was to precook the filling for a set time, and then add the top crust batter. This resulted in a more crispy and less soggy crust on the cobbler. It also kept the crust from over cooking.

cooking peaches

Georgia Peach Cobbler

Peaches preserved baked and delicious

for printable version of this recipe click here

FOR THE PEACHES

  1. 10 – 14 peaches, peeled, pit removed and sliced
  2. 2 teaspoons citric acid or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 1/4 cup white sugar (generously full)
  4. quarter cup packed brown sugar
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

FOR THE CAKE TOPPING

  1. 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup white sugar (generously full)
  3.  packed brown sugar -1/4 cup
  4. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 3/4 teaspoons salt
  6. 1/2 cup chilled butter cut into small pieces
  7. 1/4 cup boiling water

FOR THE TOPPING

  1. sugar – 1/4 cup
  2. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  3. 1/8 teaspoons nutmeg (optional)

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425 F.

  1. Using a large bowl mix the peach slices and the citric acid together.
  2. Add the sugars, cinnamon, and flour.
  3. Stir to evenly coat the peaches.
  4. Pour the peaches into greased 2 quart baking dish or 7 x 9 baking pan.

BAKE FOR 10 MINUTES

FOR THE CAKE TOPPING

  1. combine flour, both sugars and baking powder and salt
  2. mix in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks.
  3. continue to mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
  4. add the boiling water and mix until just combined
  5.  Remove the peaches from the oven and drop the cake topping in spoonfuls all over the top of the peaches.
  6. Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg mixture over the whole dish
     

     
    BAKE UNTIL TOPPING IS GOLDEN BROWN ABOUT 30 MINUTES

    1. cool 10 minutes in pan
    2. serve warm

More about Peaches!

Peach Butter – Attainable Sustainable

Peeling, Canning and Drying Peaches – Common Sense Homesteading

Spiced Brandied Peaches – Homespun Seasonal Living

Peach Jam Two Ways – Common Sense Homesteading

Georgia Peach Cobbler – Timber Creek Farm

September is National Organic Harvest Month and to help you make the most of your harvests, In 2015 I teamed up with these other amazing bloggers. Please be sure to check out their tips and more: Rachel from Grow a Good Life – Kathie from Homespun Seasonal Living – Teri from Homestead Honey – Chris from Joybilee Farm – Susan from Learning and Yearning – Shelle from Preparedness Mama – Angi from SchneiderPeeps – Janet from Timber Creek Farm

Peaches, Preserved, Baked, Delicious