So my husband and I started canning several years ago. We kind of had to out of desperation because the man didn't get that we were only two people and that his veggie garden's size was getting a bit ridiculous. Then of course once we started having children, the canning skills were a blessing in making baby food and storing up yummy-summery-goodness for the winter. Up until this year, we only canned savory items: tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, salsa, pickles, chillies, jalapenos, etc. I had only tried applesauce in the fruit department. This must change. I have lately decided that yes, I do like pie. Therefore I must learn how to can sweet filling type stuff. Hence... the canned peaches project. Let me tell you a little bit about how that went for me...
I began by selecting some jars (chose some awesome pint ones that I found at a neighborhood yard sale for super cheap!) and threw them (carefully) into the dishwasher to sanitize them. Some people would say that this is a waste, but it's easy and quick and I like it. I actually tossed the rings in also, however I wouldn't recommend this because they kind of fell to the bottom and needed to be fished out. Bleh.
While my jars were getting washed up, I prepared my peaches. I had 20lbs of them from a local co-op that I participate in. More on that at another time.
I began the process of removing the skins and taking out the pits.
I dropped 6-9 peaches at a time into my stock pot of boiling water for about 60 seconds. I pulled them out with some tongs.
They went right from the boiling water into a bowl of ice-water to shock them out of their skins. Then I was able to easily peel the skins off each peach. If the peaches hadn't been ripe enough, the skins would not have come off as easily... and that would have been no fun whatsoever.
After I peeled all my peaches, I cut them in half and pulled out the pits. Now, remember me saying the thing about them peeling easy because of being ripe??? Well, unfortunately mine were just a little TOO ripe so they kind of squished. Oh well. They may not be pretty, but they sure taste good!
Now because I am obsessed with getting the most for my money... I had to SAVE THE SKINS AND PITS... because they can be turned into some fabulous (if I say so myself) Peach Jelly!!! Which I will hopefully blog about at some later date.
Once I had my peaches all ready to go, I plopped them into jars, packing them as full as I could.
I added some fresh fruit preserver in each jar to keep the peaches a bright yellow color. My jar of preserver calls for 1 tsp per 1 cup of syrup. I just added a 1/4 tsp to each jar to be safe.
Now to make my VERY LIGHT syrup (those peaches are sweet enough on their own).To make the syrup, I boiled water and added some sugar. Once it dissolved, I poured into jars, leaving 1/2-inch head-space (room above contents to allow for the air vacuum to seal the lid). Once the jars were full, I took my lids and rings (the rings had been sanitized in the dishwasher--the lids I poured boiling water over from my teapot as I was waiting for the syrup to be ready) and I wiped the jar mouths off and placed the lids on them, hand-tightening the rings.
I processed my pint jars for 25 minutes.Then I removed them from the boiling water and placed them on a thick towel. Once they were cool I checked them for a good seal. Peaches will stay good for up to a year in their jars.So I labeled them with an expiration date and put them away! (Of course we enjoyed some peaches that same day in the form of cobbler. Mm-mm!) Now... time to make some Peach Jelly!!!
For more information about Canning and Preserving your foods -- visit She Preserves.