Friday, August 5, 2011

Peaches, Stevia, and Veg-O-Matic

Today was peach day.

Yesterday I picked up two bushels of All Gold peaches. These are a "cling" type peach, similar to Baby Gold. This type of peach is more firm and perfect for canning, but the pit has to be cut out of the peach. Berlin Seed has an awesome stainless steel pitting spoon that works perfectly for cling peaches.

If anyone local is looking for excellent cling peaches, the small orchard where I got mine has some of the nicest peaches for the best prices that I know. $15.00 for a bushel of All Golds! (Email if you want a phone number.)

This year I'm canning all my fruit with stevia instead of sugar. Several of the readers here have recommended stevia for canning. I finally tried it last year and was pleased.

Stevia is expensive, but a little goes a long way. My mom and I ordered a pound of stevia from Berlin Seeds and split it. Berlin Seed has pure stevia (no fillers) for $64.00 a pound. (Sounds like I'm running a commercial for Berlin Seed. I'm in no way affiliated with Berlin Seed - just a happy customer. Since they are an Amish business, they have no website. They give prompt service over the phone. Call 1-877-464-0892 for a free catalog.)

For canning, I used two teaspoon of pure stevia powder in one gallon of water. There is no need to heat the water. Just stir in the stevia until dissolved.

Have any of you seen one of these?

I'm not sure how old this Veg-O-Matic is but they haven't been sold for years. I had never heard of it but my sister-in-law found several at yard sales and gave me one. I like to dice my peaches to can and this little contraption saved a ton of time.

Just put in a peach...

And one "bang", and the peach is diced.

I did find that this only works with firm peaches. I was making fruit slush with soft free-stone peaches yesterday. The Veg-O-Matic turned them to mush.

I love canning but this is one of those days when the feet are tired.

What are you "putting up" for winter?


  1. Those are beautiful peaches! I find that I have fewer "floaters" with canned fruit if I only uses halves (pears, peaches). =) You got a great deal. Our local peaches won't be available until late Aug/early September, but I'll pay more like $25/bushel. =)

  2. Believe it or not, I have been canning cantaloupe. I had never heard of doing so until this year and I am 63. My husband talked to some neighboring Amish who were canning it, and asked how it was done,so I have been trying my hand at it. We mix it with mixed fruit, which is $1 per small can of the store brand mixed fruit.When it's mixed in with the other fruit, it's hard to tell that it is cantaloupe.

  3. Oh My! Mom has one of those dicers. From the 1960's!

  4. I've done Strawberry and Rasp. Jam, with Zucchini relish to come, and have been dehydrating parsley.
    Peaches are just starting to show up in our area, I imagine I will be canning them next week or the week after, depending on when our daughter decides to have our 3rd grandbaby :)

    Have you used Stevia for Jam? Any recipes or links you know of? I am very interested in this.

    I'd love a veg-a-matic, how handy is that!

    have a wonderful weekend,

  5. $15.00 a bushel for peaches! Wow! That would buy me about.....15 peaches here :-) So glad to hear about someone canning wth stevia. I'm so going to try it. The peaches look great!

  6. My mom use to have a have that kind of dicer also, wonder what happened to it. Last year I put up Baby Golds loved them. Had to cancel my peach order this year, shoulder won't be better in time to can them. Have done some strawberry freezer jam and cut up some pickles today for sweet pickles. Will miss doing all of my canning this season, thankful was able to put up a lot last year.

  7. Pickled Beets, Green Beans, and Pickled Asparagus so far. Peaches won't be ready around here for a few weeks yet, but I need to can them badly this year. How many quarts of peaches did you do this year?

  8. I used to have a veg-o-matic! I haven't seen one in many years. They were great! Beautiful peaches!

  9. Peaches here. I also have green beans frozen. I am hoping we get a good crop of paste tomatoes...


  10. Those are beautiful peaches! And I have some of my Grandma's old pitting spoons which is a lifesaver. I can't imagine trying to cut them out with a knife.

    Curious about the Stevia. Can you tell any difference in the taste?

    And my Mom has one of those Veggo-Matic's. I always LOVED using it and have thought of getting one since I'm married but haven't seen one at any yardsales and also am not sure if I want to take up more of my cupboard space with one. I never thought of using it for peaches though. That's a great idea!

    As for what I've been putting away. Well, I froze some Red Haven peaches earlier this week, am getting ready to do corn and want to can some Baby Golds too in the next week or two.

  11. wow! I wish I could get peaches that cheap. I've been contemplating buying some stevia - do you use it in baking at all?

  12. I have heard that Stevia is not good for those in childbearing age who are willing to have as many babies as God gives them as it works like a birth control.Just wanted to add that as I heard that once, and now I stay away from it.I am sure this would not bother most but just in case....

  13. Ahhh my mom had a veg-o-matic when I was a small child I have no idea what ever came of it!!

    I canned a bushel of peaches last week, free stones but they were firm, I think red star variety anyway after we ate a few and gave a few away I was able to can 30 qts!!

    Your peaches look great!!


  14. Peaches here in NY for a bushel is $36. $15 for a bushel is fantastic. Those peaches by the way are beautiful.


  15. I love to hear what you all are canning and freezing!

    I've never tried using stevia for jam.

    Rebecca - The two bushels resulted in 43 quart of peaches.

    Lydia - I should have mentioned that we don't like a real sweet syrup on our fruit. Some think that stevia has an aftertaste. Maybe it depends on the brand. We don't know the difference with canning.

    I have not experimented much with stevia and never used it in baking. It would definitely change the texture.

    Nikki-I know there is conflicting views on the safety of stevia. I've done some research and am comfortable using it. But you need to make your own decision.


  16. Joining the ranks of those impressed with your peach prices! It's getting to be about that time where I start shopping prices & I'm not looking forward to seeing what I'll have to dish out.

    Grow peach tree, grow!

  17. I want, I want, I want. I love gadgets that make canning easier. I have a peach pitter thingy. I love that. It is like an apple cutter the kind that you push down on by hand and cuts the apples into six or eight wedges, only the blades are super sharp to go through the soft fruit instead of mushing it. Beautiful picture. Thanks.

  18. By the way. I just did 80 pints of applesauce yesterday. But, it is actually pear season here. Quince, Kiefer and other hard pears.

  19. Good on you! Stevia is great and doesn't spike blood sugar levels so helps keep food low GI and better for you.

    Did you can them the regular way in a water bath thingy after that?
    I have an electric unit (I'm a total newbie to the thing) and it does fruit in water.
    that kind of what you did?

  20. (personally) I think the fresh Stevia leaves have an aniseed/icing sugar taste but very mild.

    I've just read some science tests on Stevia (gosh don't read it if you're of a weak disposition! horrific!) and it seems that if you were to take 96% pure dried stevia at 3000mg per kilogram of your body weight then it may affect fertility in females.

    GOSH! that's like... eating 2 kilos (4lb) of the stuff PER DAY for 14 days.

    Gina, I think you're safe!

  21. Suzi -
    I did can the peaches with a boiling water bath. I'm not sure what you meant by electric. I use a large pot on an electric stove to can the jars.


  22. Thanks Gina! I got the one that you fill up and plug in like a kettle so you don't have to keep it on the stove.

    I didn't pay that much for it though!

  23. This is an intersting post! Glad you did it. While in Lowe's this afternoon, I picked up the most recent issue of "Mother Earth News" - within the first few pages there is an article (1 page...) on Stevia. It says it's harmless, and 250 times more sweet than regular sugar (article specifically states 1 teaspoon is equal to 3 cups of sugar) It was odd that I read your post & then foind the article all within a few days. My husband goes through about a gallon of sweet tea a day. PER DAY! That's 1 cup of sugar per gallon. We need to make a change. Going to try the Stevia!

    I am not canning. Yet. Going to take that plunge soon. I just don't have the storage space in my kitchen & the only unused area of my basement is too humid/wet for storage. (maybe I should give up part of my sewing studio??? Nope, don't think so...not yet!)

    Thanks for this post.


  24. I don't usually see Canadian peaches until late August/early September and they are saying it will be late this year. I usually can about 40 pounds of peaches. Yours look great. It always looks so easy and beautiful in pictures but I don't look forward to the mess in the kitchen!

    I'm just finishing with berries this week and starting on freezing beans. Nothing else is really ready in bulk yet and my favourites (the whole brassica family) is being eaten by slugs at the moment. Given the number of eggs hiding in unreachable places in the cabbage, this will soon be followed by caterpillers. Very disappointing.

    However the tomatoes are looking good so far and that's my main can't-live-without crop.

  25. I was very busy canning last week also. Peaches, tomatoes, sweet pickled peppers, pickles. But I did my peaches with my family in Chambersburg, and they had purchased an apple slicer very similar to your veg-o-matic that we diced up our peaches with. They got it from Country Pantry in Shippensburg. Just thought I let you know there is something out there that would do a similar job that is available to purchase.

  26. Hi Gina, The dicer is old. My mother had one we used for french fries...That does work great for dicing veggies. I am enjoying your blog. thanks for all you do.


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