Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preserving Summer's Bounty-Part 2 Canning Peaches

Oh my goodness have peaches just been amazing this year or what! My toddler has been in love and has requested peaches almost every morning for breakfast. I wanted to make sure we still had a few when they were no longer in season, so I decided to try canning a few. This is the first canning I had done by myself and I was little nervous. But it wasn't too bad and it was very satisfying hearing the pop of the seals once my work was complete.

you'll need:
Canning Jars & lids (I used 12 lb. of peaches and it filled about 9 pint size jars)
or pineapple juice
Large Pot or Canning Pot
Something to lift your jars out of the water, they sell specific tools and chances are you know someone who has one.

First thing first is to get your water bath going. I don't have a canner so I used a large pot. Bring your water to a boil and add your jars using this cool little jar picker upper. Let these jars sterilize in the boiling water for about 10 minutes. Add your rings and lids for 5 minutes to not quite boiling water. Make sure you set a timer so you won't forget about them. If you have a dishwasher with a sterilize feature you can simply do this, unfortunately I don't.

While those are sterilizing wash your peaches and boil another pot of water. Fill an additional bowl with COLD water, I added some ice cubes to make sure it was COLD.

Drop several peaches into your boiling water for about 30-45 seconds.
Then use a slotted spoon and add them to the cold water and let sit for about 2 minutes. This process shocks the peaches making them very easy to peel.

Once you shock the peaches remove the skins. It's very important to let them sit for a few minutes in the cold water. Trust me if you try to peel them before this point you'll have problems. I finally figured this out 8 lbs. into peeling my peaches. The last 4 lbs. went much better. If you want to maximize the entire peach, save the peelings in a little bowl and make some peach honey with them later.

Once you've peeled your peaches it's time to slice them as you desire. You can half them and remove the pit, slice them, or dice them it's up to you. I sliced them. Then add some lemon juice or Fresh Fruit over your peaches to prevent them from browning. Give it a good stir coating all your peaches.
Now it's time to prepare your syrup or your juice you will pack your peaches in. Add 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Slowly add your sugar and bring to a boil then allow to barely boil for a few minutes, so you'll need to lower your heat.

Next you'll add your peaches to the barely boiling syrup and barely boil for 5 minutes.

Now you're ready to fill your jars. Use a nifty little canning funnel and you'll avoid some spills. Add your peaches to your jars and fill them tightly, leave about 1 inch to 1/2 inch of the jar unfilled. Once you've added your peaches. Make sure to cover them with syrup.

Next run a knife or the little canning tool along the sides of your jars to release any air bubbles.

Wipe the lip and threads of the jar clean with a wet clean cloth and add your sterilized lids and tighten the ring on the jars.

Add filled and closed jars to a boiling hot water bath. You need enough boiling water to covers the jars by 2 inches, as you add your jars the water will rise so don't fill your pot will boiling water, don't ask me how I know this. Boil covered for about 20 minutes if you live above sea level, 30 minutes if you live below sea level. ( I have no idea why this is underlined, I can't seem to fix it, so just ignore it)

Remove jars with your handy little jar grabber and allow them to cool untouched. You'll hear the beautiful clicking of the seals as your jars cool. It's a very satisfying sound. Store your jars in a dark cool place and enjoy these tasty treats all winter long.

Make sure you check out the Recipe Swap on Friday over at GCC.

Happy Canning!

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