Monday, February 9, 2015

Life's a Peach

We have three peach trees.  Two of them are an Elberta variety but the biggest and best producing is a J.H.Hale. They were planted twelve years ago and have been caged for about seven. For some years when they were small we netted them and we got enough fruit for dribbling chins and a small box of Vacola jars. Since they were caged we have harvested a higher proportion of the fruit but to keep the trees small enough to fit in the cage the pruning has needed to be hard. In response the tree puts lots of energy into new shoots and less into fruit.
For three years the blossom was hit either by frost or wind. The crop has been very small and after a few to drool on there was none to bottle. Exactly one year ago today a major bushfire raged all around the valley first moving swiftly south-east and then after a wind change back to the north. The house and orchards somehow survived in a small unburnt patch. However the only access road was closed for the next three weeks before locals were allowed back in. By then the peaches had ripened and rotted on the ground.
But this year the blossom survived and the rains came at the right time. The peaches are beautiful, big and juicy. This morning after picking two 10 litre containers of tomatoes, three boxes of plums, a shopping bag of zucchinis, plenty of basil and a sack of apples I approached the peach trees and found the ground littered with fallers and almost all the fruit on the tree at perfect ripeness. Two polystyrene boxes and two 10litre containers full.

Time for 'Vacola'ring. We have two Vacola units - (one purchased from a clearing sale brand new with two boxes of bottles for $10!) and plenty of jars. People seem to know we 'do it the hard way' so donate us their boxes of bottles, clips and lids when they are clearing out the shed.
The only part of the process that is best not recycled are the rings. A call to Irene from the local store and she has put four boxes of rings aside. All we need is some sugar for the syrup and then the bottling can begin. Hopefully a year's supply of bottled peaches. Served with homemade custard, yoghurt or cream on a July night and you are immersed in a taste of summer. Mmmm....

No comments:

Post a Comment