Thursday, August 11, 2011

Canning Peaches

Canning peaches may seem intimidating but they are actually very simple to do.  You must first select nice and ripe peaches.  Normally peaches are picked before they are fully ripe.  When buying peaches or picking them make sure you realize you won't be canning the same day.  If I pick or buy large quantities I realize that I will be canning every couple days.  It is the same as with pears.  Use a variety of peach that is a free stone.  Which means the flesh does not stick to the pit.  Red Haven is a very commen free stone peach that people like to can with.  Free stone is also called no cling.  You want a peach that will easily come right off the pit so your halves or slices aren't all butchered up when you put them into your jars.

To remove the skin from peaches you bring water to a boil.  Then drop in your peaches.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove the peaches and put in cold water.  Once you are done with all your peaches then you begin to remove the skins and halve or slice them to can.

The skin will peel right off a peach that is nice and ripe!!
I don't live in a perfect world.  So  not every peach that I put into that hot water comes out perfect.  Some peaches have stubborn spots that the skin don't peel off.  That is when your pearing knife comes in handy and you simply help it along.  The peaches don't always come right off the pit either.  So a pearing knife aids in that process too. 

Next you need to decide whether you are going to keep the peaches in halves or to slice them.  Most people can peaches in halves.  They look beautiful in the jar this way.  You fill the jar with the peaches with the cut side down layering the peaches around the jar filling the jar as tight as possible.  To slice the peaches just slice them right off the pit.  They aren't as pretty in the jar as the halves but sometimes they are more practical.  I think about how I am going to use what I am canning.  Depending on how I am going to use something determines if I will can it in a pint or quart jar.  Regular or wide  mouth jar and how I prepare the fruit or vegetable.  I use peaches mainly in baking pies, desserts, or just to eat at lunch or breakfast.  So slices makes more sense for me.  I also canned them in pint jars this year.  Most of the dessert recipes I use calls for only about a pint size jar of sliced peaches.  Plus if I am using them to eat a pint size will be used up quicker so the peaches don't go to waste.  If I want to make I pie I can always open up 2 jars.  So I sliced my peaches up as I peeled them into a saucepan filled with water with some citric acid to prevent browning.  Once all my peaches are sliced I will rinse out the peaches add enough water to cover and put them on the stove to heat to boiling.

I prefer to hot pack peaches.  Peaches can be cold packed or hot packed.  Hot packed peaches tend to can better than cold pack.  To cold pack you will put your peaches right into the jars as you peel and halve or slice.  Then fill with your hot syrup.  To hot pack you will cover the peaches with water or syrup and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and put in your jars.  I cover my peaches in water.  Then I use a slotted spoon to fill my jars.  Once the jars are filled then I put the syrup in.  I allow the jars to settle some so they can be nice and filled.  If the jars are packed tightly and you let them settle it will help your fruit or veges from rising a lot after the canning process.  I also make my syrup in a separate pot.  This way I can reuse my syrup for another batch and it will keep well in the fridge.  You can can fruit in water, syrup, or fruit juice.  Syrup or fruit juice helps your fruit keep its color better.  I have a friend who cans her fruit in appel juice.  So after her kids eat the fruit they then can drink the juice it is canned in.  I normally use a light syrup which is made by combining 1 part sugar to 3 parts water.  Basically 1 cup of sugar and 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and cover  your peaches leaving 1/2 inch head space. 

Wipe your rims clean then adjust your lids and process in a boiling water bath.  If you hot pack you process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes.  If you cold pack your peaches you process pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes.  I canned another 7 pints of peaches.  I canned 5 pints a few days ago.  I will keep canning peaches every couple of days until they are all canned. 

The syrup that I don't use goes into a gallon jug labeled syrup and into the fridge.  I don't like to waste the sugar that I bought.  This will be used up during the next batch of peaches I can. 


Lynn said...

Yum, your canned peaches look beautiful. This year I didn't get enough to can :( -- we have a couple peach trees, but for some reason the harvest this year is not so good. Sigh. It is funny how different years, different things in the garden really go crazy and produce. I will live vicariously through your beautiful jars :)

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

That looks soooo good! Wish we had some decent peaches up here. Thanks for the inspiration.