We did it…. We survived our first major recipe as a M.S. and H.S. group of DIYers. It was messy, it was fun, and we had sooo many students enjoying a timeless tradition of canning food. We canned delicious, juicy, ripe PEACHES…
8 extra jars were set aside to auction off in hopes of covering all the expenses of the project and help fund future projects.
When the students were informed that they would be participating in the entire process of canning and preserving their own jar of peaches, the students presented mixed reviews. We had some students excited about enjoying the peaches, but hesitant because it was never their job to can them. They confessed that was their aunt or grandma’s job. Others shared that family members or neighbors gladly shared their canned items, but they never had to participate in the process. Other students shared they had canned items often or in the past, and couldn’t wait to get started. Believe it or not, some students had never tried peaches and were reluctant about whether or not this project would be any fun. Prior to the actual activity, we had the opportunity to sample and compare store bought canned peaches and those freshly preserved and canned by the water bath process. It was a unanimous decision that the fresh canned peaches were the BEST and didn’t have a standing chance to the store bought.
The official process began with much enthusiasm, and some trepidation. The students had to search for the perfectly ripe peaches in boxes holding 40 pounds of peaches. Following the selection, the students were educated in the step by step process of blanching and how that enabled the peach skin removal to be extremely easy because the skin slid right off. As I watched these students holding what they called, “slippery and kinda slimy” peaches, I felt like this was supposed to be happening in Science class – NOT my DIY class. Yet here we were, experimenting with the process of canning peaches and the smiles were being shared amongst everybody. They were having fun and we weren’t even done. They were instructed to carefully cut peach wedges and place them in their mason jars.
When everybody had completely filled their jars with peaches, a sweet, hot syrup was added which brought them up to the step of sealing their jars. They had to completely and thoroughly wipe the rim of the mason jar to make certain no syrup or peach residuals remained, otherwise proper sealing would be compromised. Once everybody had confirmed proper cleaning, the seal and band were put in place and tightened shut. To ensure each student received THEIR peaches, every jar was labeled with their names. We needed to make sure every student had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of THEIR labor.
To complete the canning process, the jars were immersed in boiling water (hence water bath canning technique) for approximately 30 minutes. Following each mason jars water bath, they were removed from the boiling water to begin the cooling and proper sealing process. The students continued on to their next class period, I had the privilege of staying behind and listening to the peaches properly seal with a prominent “Ping” noise. It was music to my ears and a job well done.
It didn’t end there for the High Schoolers because they took this project to next level and decorated their mason jars. They were provided free range of the classroom supplies and materials to present a stylish and visually pleasing finished product. Not only did they successfully and creatively decorate their mason jars, they were instructed they needed to properly stage and take a photo as a final step in this process. They surpassed my expectations with every step along the way and I hope you might consider enjoying and supporting their hard work.
Please enjoy the amazing photos the High Schoolers took of these “Priceless Canned Peaches.” As a part of this whole educational process, the students calculated all costs incurred and determined the exact cost to complete their jar of peaches. They compared prices with canned peaches sold at the local grocery stores and their costs, and hands down determined canning fresh peaches was worth every penny. I apologize if your child was privileged to participate in this lesson and they DID NOT share their peaches with you. I tried my best encourage them to share….. Now that you are drooling over these yummy peaches and you missed out tasting them, I wanted to let you know you have the opportunity to enjoy them. I am pleased to share the Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers made a few extra jars to share. Sooooo kind of them. Not only that, they calculated all the costs and have determined how much needs to be made in order to cover the costs for this project. With all of their hard work, they are hoping to exceed their target price and begin gathering additional funds for future projects and lessons.
Mrs. Miersma | Art & DIY teacher
Please keep following us online as we share more creations and projects.