Last Friday I went down to my mom’s and canned peaches with her. Canning is a great way to preserve fresh fruits and produce (BPA free!) for your family. I’ve been canning with my mom since I was a girl and took (and did pretty darn well at) Food Preservation all 10 years I was in 4-H. Canning really isn’t that difficult either, it just takes a bit of time.
Some products you will need.
Canner, wide mouth jars, rings, lids, and lifter. I bought a small canning kit similar to this one and it has been all I needed! If you are seriously considering canning I would also recommend buying the Ball Blue Book of Preserving—it is the ultimate guide to all things preserving, canning, freezing and has very clear instructions. My mom’s is VERY well-used and I love mine!
How to Can Peaches
Here we go! Start by prepping your jars. They need to be cleaned with hot water. I used all pint jars because that is how much Nate and I will eat. My mom mostly makes quarts for her larger crew. Either size the process is the same.
Next, start a large pot of boiling water. Your peaches are going to take a quick bath in there! Once the water is boiling add peaches to the pot; it’s okay if they all don’t fit at once. Let them splash around in there for a minute or so and then carefully remove with a slotted spoon.
Place them in a sink or basin filled with cool water. This hot bath and cool bath will help the peach skins just slide off! Then slice the peach lengthwise along the natural line; pull apart so you have two halves; remove the pit (with your finger); and slip off the skin. Rinse in cool water if necessary to remove “yuckies”. If there are bad spots slice off or save riper peaches for jam. Continue doing this until your peaches are finished or you come to a good “break point”.
You should have a beautiful bowl of peaches. Take your wide mouth jar and gently stack the peaches insides down into the jar until full, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Make a mixture of sugar water (5 cups water to 3 cups sugar) being sure the sugar is dissolved in the hot water. Then slowly add to jars. Slide a butter knife along the edges to get rid of air pockets and make sure the sugar water is spread out. (The sugar water helps maintain the peaches firmness and coloring. You can rinse off when you serve.)
Wipe jars rims. Add lids and screw on rings. Place jars in canner, touching, but not tight. Fill canner with warm water until water just covers the jar lids. Bring to boil. Once boiling process 30 minutes for quarts; 25 minutes for pints. Just let ‘er boil!
After 30 minutes are up turn off heat and remove canner lid. Allow jars to rest in canner 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner; allow to seal overnight before removing rings. (Test the seal by tapping on the jars. A high pitched “ting” means it didn’t seal. I did about 15 jars and one of them didn’t seal. I just put this one in the fridge and plan to eat it this week!
There! Not to scary, huh? If you have a friend it is more fun with two! And you can divide the tasks to go faster. For example my mom bathed the peaches and filled them in jars and started them in the canner while I did most of the slicing and peeling that way we didn’t bottleneck on one task. My mom and I started the peaches around 2:00 and finished close to 6:00. We canned a bushel of peaches which made 15 pints and another 16 quarts plus 8 half-pints of freezer jam (another post for another time) from the beat up ones.
Have you ever canned before? Would you ever give it a try?
What would you like to can?