Country Living Series

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sunshine in a jar

It's peach-canning season.


Someone from a friend's church makes a run to Yakima every year for peaches. At $15 for a 20-lb. box, it's hard to beat the prices. This year I ordered five boxes -- one box for fresh eating (I love LOVE LOVE peaches!), four boxes for canning.


Canning 80 lbs. of peaches is a serious, day-long affair. I've found it's easiest if I set up "stations" in the kitchen. This is my scalding station:


My cooling station:


My peeling station:


My peeled fruit station:


My jar station:


and my syrup station:


This allows me to get into a rhythm. Some peaches are scalding, others are cooling, while I peel yet another batch. When I have a full bowl, I stop and slice, and fill jars...


...then top them with syrup.


Before capping the jars, I wipe the rims to get any spilled syrup or peach pulp off. This also allows me to check for any nicks I may have missed.


When the jars are all filled, the stove is then free to start processing. First I scalded my Tattler lids.


Peaches are processed in a water-bath, so I got my two biggest pots (using racks on the bottom, of course). The bigger pot held seven quarts, the smaller one five, so I could process 12 quarts at a time.


Quarts are processed at a rolling boil for 30 minutes. I set two kitchen timers up to monitor both pots separately.


After removing a batch but before putting in another batch, I pre-warmed the jars in hot water so they wouldn't break when I immersed them in the water-bath.


Batch by batch, I got the jars processed until by the end of a long and exhausting day, 35 quarts were cooling on the counter.


By the next morning, I was in more of a position to admire my handiwork.


However I didn't want to put the peaches away into the pantry until I washed the jars. There's always a bit of overflow which causes stickiness.


Then I washed the rings, a boring but necessary task.



Canned peaches are like sunshine in a jar.


19 comments:

  1. Glad you were able to take advantage of our Yakima Valley fruit. Don't think you will find any better. Canned about half of what you did, off my own tree.
    Have built a portable outside canning kitchen. Saves a big mess and also have a glass top stove, that is not best for large pots.
    Enjoy a day off, after all the hard work!

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  2. Sunshine in a jar - so worth it in the middle of a cold, windy, snowy day in January!!

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  3. I love setting up stations. It's a great day of very hard rewarding work.

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  4. How many times have you reused the Tattler lids? Do you have good luck with them sealing?

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    1. I've been using Tattlers almost exclusively for the past six years. The failure rate is higher than for disposable lids -- there might be one or two which fail to seal in a batch -- but in this particular batch, every last jar sealed properly. I don't know how many times I've used the same rings (I don't keep track) but I purchased a lifetime supply of lids and rings, so I have a lot. I couldn't be more pleased with Tattlers.

      - Patrice

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    2. Howdy!

      I've purchased a large supply of the Tattler lids but have had quite the struggle learning how to use them.

      I'm getting better and have found that tightening the rings and turning the jars upside down as soon as I remove them from the canner helps (you sure know if they haven't sealed at that point!).

      Any tips you can share would be appreciated.

      Also, how many lids do you consider a lifetime supply?

      I've been reading your blog for awhile, love it!

      Thanks.

      Diane

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    3. I purchased 1000 lids (500 regular, 500 wide-mouth) plus a few extra boxes of rings. That was six years ago.

      Tattlers have a bit of a learning curve but I urge you to keep trying. Keep in mind, though, that the jars don't seal immediately upon removal from the canner (neither do most disposable lids, for that matter -- you have to wait until you hear them pop). Right after removing them from the canner, I tighten the rings then LEAVE THEM ALONE FOR 12 HOURS. Not until the jars are entirely cool do I remove the rings and see what seals have failed, if any. Flipping the jars upside down right out of the canner will prevent jars that might have sealed from sealing. Just something to try. Happy canning!

      - Patrice

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    4. Patrice, I have had the same experience as you with the Tattlers--a somewhat higher failure rate but not so high as to make them impractical. However, most of my failures have happened long after canning day: a jar that I tested and verified as sealed when I put it away is unsealed when I go to use it months later. That's odd...and has mostly happened with the new(er) EZ-Seal Tattlers.

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  5. Your peaches are beautiful. Last year I canned nectarines instead of peaches. They were good but I much prefer peaches. I think that I have finally mastered the right feel for tightening Tattler lids. All of my canning in both water bath and pressure canner have sealed this season.

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  6. You should have made peach scrap jelly with the pits and peels or peach juice to can. It can be added to iced tea or lemonade for a delicious drink.

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  7. You can save the pit and peels to make peach scrap jelly or juice concentrate to add to iced tea or lemonade concentrate.

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  8. All those jars look beautiful and delicious! I haven't had a good peach since my husband's grandpa cut down his peach trees after they were damaged in a storm. =( Hopefully, we can get some peach trees for our new homestead! =) Thanks for sharing your peach canning session.

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  9. Patrice, Can you do a review on your new tractor? Thanks Don

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  10. I'm doing applesauce today, no longer do much water bath cannning, even for applesauce, peaches, etc. I use my pressure canner since it is as fast or faster than boiling all that water and takes less energy to keep the temp. Also run the canner OUTSIDE on a covered porch using a heavy propane camp stove; hardly uses any propane and all the heat and steam are not in the kitchen! With a comfortable chair, cold drink, timer, loaded kindle, and relaxing view of countryside, canning is not so bad!

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  11. So, I'm going to ask an idiotic question here, but I trust Patrice and the experienced canners on here more than I trust my cookbooks... Can applesauce and peaches be water bath canned? I thought they had to be pressure canned. Thanks for clearing up this mystery for me!

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    1. Absolutely they can be water-bath canned! The peach post above demonstrates that. For peaches, water-bath can quarts for 30 minutes, pints for 25 minutes. For applesauce, unless you want to sterilize your jars (kind of a pain but necessary for anything processed 10 minutes or less), I process for 15 minutes at a rolling boil.

      Happy canning!

      - Patrice

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  12. Can you tell us where & from who in Yakima you purchase your peaches? (I realize you don't actually purchase them, but a friend does.) I would very much like to do the same on my own! Thanks for the great blog.....

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    1. I'm sorry, I have no idea where in Yakima the fruit came from.

      - Patrice

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