Country Living Series

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Canning peaches

It's that time of year again, the time when fresh foods are abundant and reasonably inexpensive. Through a friend's church, I was able to get boxes of peaches for $15 a box, so we bought three boxes. We fresh-ate a lot of the peaches. My hands-down all time favorite fruit is peaches, so it's no surprise that half the top box was empty by the time I got around to canning them.


I wasn't sure how many jars I'd need, so I started by washing twenty quart jars. The girls were gone for a day -- busy cleaning motel rooms for a neighbor who owns a motel -- and I sorely missed their help.


I found one jar with a nicked rim, so I pulled it aside. Chipped jars won't seal.


I labeled it and put it in the pantry for storing dry items.


First task was to boil water so I could dip the peaches and slip the skins. I found that processing ten peaches at a time worked well.


Cooling the hot peaches in cool water.


Peeling.


Slicing.


As I filled each jar, I added about a tablespoon of lemon juice to slow browning.


I got into a rhythm: peaches cooking, peaches cooling, peaches being peeled, filling jars, etc.


I ended up with twenty-two quarts. Not bad.


Scraps. I thought about making some fruit vinegar, but decided not to since I still have a lot of vinegar left. This bowl of scraps went into the compost pile.


Making syrup. I prefer a light syrup, which is a 2:1 ratio of water:sugar.


Topping the jars with syrup.


I pulled out the rings I needed...


...and scalded the Tattler lids and gaskets.


Peaches can be water-bath canned (30 minutes for quarts), and my two biggest pots held twelve quarts between them.


I started cleaning up the mess while the first batch processed. The floor was sticky, so out came the mop.


While the first batch was processing, I preheated the second batch of jars in a dishpan of hot water so there wouldn't be a temperature shock of putting cool jars in boiling water. Nonetheless, about five minutes after I put the second batch of jars in the pots, I heard a BANG! When I lifted the lid, peaches were floating.


Lost a jar. It happens.


By the time second batch of jars were out and cooling...


...it was well past 10 pm and I was staggeringly tired. All-day canning sessions are tough.


The next morning I made sure to wash the very sticky jars. It's normal for the jars to vent during processing and cooling, which left them very sticky on the outside. I gave each one a good scrub.


Cleaned and ready to store.


I also scrubbed my rings, particularly necessary after a sticky project like peaches.



I'll be doing a lot of canning this fall. Peaches? They're just the beginning.

13 comments:

  1. Nice looking peaches. Now that was an extremely long day but well worth it after seeing all your hard work sitting in jars.

    Do you use a towel in the bottom on your pots when doing the water bath or do you have a stand to raise the jars?

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  2. Yum. Peaches are my absolute favorite fruit, too! Looks like a long sticky day!

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  3. You may want to feed those peach scrapes to the chickens next time. Mine go crazy over them!
    Thanks,Jeff

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  4. Thank you. I didn't know it was that easy to put up peaches. Mostly I have heard to use a recipe.

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  5. Home canned peaches taste so much better than store bought canned peaches. Last time I composted the peach trimmings and threw out the pits a squirrel 'planted' peach trees :)

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  6. Does your family eat jelly? If so next time you can use those peelings and pits to make peach pit jelly before tossing them into the compost. Peach pit jelly is one of my favorite kinds of jelly! Here is a link to a recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/peach-peeling-peach-seed-jelly-41035

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  7. Does your family eat jelly? If so next time you can use those peelings and pits to make peach pit jelly before you compost them. Peach pit jelly is one of my favorites! Here is the recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/peach-peeling-peach-seed-jelly-41035

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  8. You got a great deal. Peaches were selling for $50 a bushel at one of the orchards here in Michigan.

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  9. I've canned 19 jars of sliced peaches. The chickens loved the scraps. I tried dehydrating this year, and although I dehydrated in both vegetables and fruits (cherries are especially good), I was particularly pleased with the green beans. The 2.5 bushels went much faster than canning and took up a much smaller space for storage. They rehydrate just fine. Unfortunately, some things do not can well and must be frozen. Pressure canning meat next.

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    1. I really like dehydrating, too. Green beans are terrific great. They rehydrate really well.

      I love starting a pot of soup in the morning with all my dehydrated veggies and just let it get yummy.

      But, you're right about the peaches...they must be canned to fully enjoy later.

      Just Me

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  10. We lost about 6 jars this year due to breaking in the canner. I also thought it was the temp difference between the jar and water. After the 6th jar I looked in the Ball book and it said not enough headspace is the cause. Haven't broken a single jar yet now that I'm careful about headspace. We've put up about 400 jars this year so far. Deer season has started and we plan on canning all of this years harvest. Nothing like canned bambi!!! Idaho Bill

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  11. Okay, I've been totally shamed outta my laziness.

    Those peaches look so good, I'm going out to the apple tree right now and pick another peck. Into the dehydrator they go!

    I'm not lucky enough to have delicious peaches to can. I have to...GASP...buy my canned peaches. How embarrassing.

    Just Me

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  12. Another cool thing you can do with your peelings is to dehydrate them and grind them up to use in smoothies, oatmeal, ect. Yummy!

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