Thursday, August 20, 2015

Canning peaches

If I've been rather quiet on the blog lately, it's because I've been up to my elbows in peaches.

A week or two ago, I called a friend who has a family member who makes an annual run to Yakima for peaches for their church. It's not unusual for these folks to bring back hundreds of twenty-pound boxes at the extraordinary price of $16/box. I asked if I could put in an order for four boxes (80 lbs.).

To my surprise, my friend called on Monday and said the peaches were in. That was quick!

Peaches are my flat-out, hands-down, out-of-the-ballpark favorite fruit by an order of magnitude even over strawberries. They are things of great and artistic beauty.

But even things of great and artistic beauty must be preserved before they go bad. Yesterday the peaches had ripened to their optimal sweetness, and it was time to buckle down and can them.

Older Daughter, of course, is at school in Ohio, and Younger Daughter was at a book convention, so it was up to me to get these babies in jars.

So I set up a sort of production line. The pot on the stove is for dipping peaches in near (but not quite) boiling water to slip the skins; the white bowl is for cooling the peaches once they've been dipped.

Cooling peaches. I worked in batches of ten at a time.

Peaches with the skins slipped off.

Making syrup. I use a two:one ratio of water:sugar.

Once a batch of fruit was peeled, I sliced and filled jars...

...then filled the jar with syrup and put it aside.

I got a fairly smooth rhythm going: peaches heating, cooling, peeling, slicing, filling jars, and topping with syrup.

I turned the last few batches into purée since there's nothing finer for flavoring ice cream or yogurt.

I ended with four and a half quarts of purée, which I froze.

Gradually the boxes emptied.

I left the fourth box half-full for fresh eating.

Besides the purée, I ended up with 29 quarts of sliced peaches.

I thought they looked lovely in the sunshine.

I water-bathed them for 25 minutes. I could only fit twelve jars between my two largest pots, so I did them in batches. During the third batch, one of the jars broke. It happens.

28 quarts and a bit over a gallon of purée -- not a bad haul for winter indulgence.


  1. Glad you like peaches from our valley. Just went out and picked one am in the process of having my evening snack. Nothing like having one fresh.
    Best luck to all at your house.

  2. Great photos! I did a slight gasp of joy when I first opened your blog and saw the top photo. I love nothing better than looking at the finished product all lined up - truly a thing of beauty.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  3. Peaches from Yakima Valley are the best! Just canned 3 boxes of them as well as 4 boxes of pears and 20 #'s of garlic dill grateful to have this bounty to put up for the winter! Just had friends down from N WA and we got to treat them to fresh baked pear crisp, and sliced peaches with homemade ice cream!

  4. try and put a few bags sliced with orange juice and them frozen. If eatten with still a little bit of frost, taste almost like fresh. that over home made ice cream or breakfast -yum

  5. Any particular reason why you didn't use Tattler rings? SuccotashRose

    1. I was wondering the same thing?!?

    2. No nefarious reason, I was working solo and had no stove space to prep the Tattler lids, so I cheated and used disposables. It was interesting -- I haven't used disposables in so many years I almost forgot how.

      - Patrice

    3. Patrice, how do you prepare Tattler lids differently than disposables? I quit using Tattlers because of my failure rate. I tried and tried,vroom frustrating?

  6. How pretty your jars look! I love the way a pantry full of home canned goods looks.

    I planted a peach tree last year and another one this year. No fruit yet, but I'm finding the peach trees are easier to grow than apple trees, which seem to require a nonstop battle against pests. Looking forward to seeing our first peaches in a year or two.

  7. Cool post. I am going to be in the same boat in 3 or 4 weeks with apples. We are having a banner year with them. There people who have 2x4"s holding up the branches that are weighted down with so much fruit..

    Carl in the UP

  8. My friend and I went just over the border into Missouri and got Georgia peaches, 25#, $9.75. Boy, they were good!

  9. Ah, that brings back memories!! I am getting more in touch with local commercial-scale growers. Hopefully I will soon once again be canning large batches of damaged produce. I miss those three-day canning marathons...

  10. I love peaches too. Last year after making some peach jam, I had a couple of peaches left over. I also had a quart of strawberries which were destined for a pie. I decided to combine them. Yep...peach strawberry pie. Now it's my all time favorite fruit pies.

  11. Millions of peaches, peaches for me

    Millions of peaches, peaches for free

    Look out!