Saturday, September 6, 2014

Canning Peaches: A Step by Step Process

I have been canning peaches since I was a kid.  Ahem, well, assisting my Mom as a kid.  Peaches are a little very messy and with all that sugar, a little very sticky too.

First, prepare light or medium syrup. I prefer light syrup. Simply heat water and sugar in a sauce pan until sugar dissolves. Bring it to boiling point and boil one minute, making sure all sugar is dissolved.

  • Light – 2 cups sugar to 1-quart water
  • Medium -3 cups sugar to 1-quart water

I did a bushel last time, yielding 21 quarts.  I needed just under 5 quarts of water/ 10 cups sugar.

Second, scald the peaches.  They don't need to be in there real long- a minute or less will do.  This part will loosen the skin of the peaches and take the fuzz away.  If your peaches are really ripe the skin will come off easily without this.  But really ripe peaches make for soggy canned peaches. Some kinds of peaches give up their skin easily, others do not. Unfortunately the ones below did not give up their skin to easily.  Note to self buy the first freestone peaches that are out at the market.
When doing a lot of peaches I lay them out on a cookie sheet to cool while I peel them. 
Third, Place peeled, sliced and cooked peaches into a jar.  Pack them in pretty good without smushing them too much.  Pour hot liquid into the jar.  Wipe rims to make sure there is not any stuff on it.  Place lids and screw on the rings. Give a nice firm, twist. Place in hot water in canner.

Fourth, bring canner to a boil. This is called the water bath. Once it has reached the boiling point, time it for 20 minutes.

Here is one tip that will save you some effort and a lot of time.  After you have processed your peaches, let them sit in the canner for five minutes with the lid off and the heat turned off for five minutes.  After that, pull the tray up and then remove your jars from the canner.  This step will prevent bubbling over.  If you take the jars out right after you turn the heat off, they sometimes will bubble over, creating a hot, sticky mess.

I place my jars onto a glass cutting board.  I never place them directly on the counter.  If I am canning a lot I will place them on heavy towels.

Another little tip is to place any hot pads that you might have gotten wet, onto the jars while they are cooling.  The heat from the jars will dry them out real quick.

I leave them out all night on the counter.  The next morning I make sure that all the tops are depressed making sure they have been processed adequately.  Then I clean the jars.  In recent years I actually remove the ring, clean it real well and store without the rings.

If any of your jars did not seal properly, place them in the fridge and eat them up! Honestly, this does not happen very often.

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