I have a love hate relationship with August. It is a harvesting/canning/freezing frenzy. Don't get me wrong I love all the fresh produce, but why does it seem to be all at once?
A few years back Chuck made a request for canned peaches. Never having home canned peaches I was not sure how it was gonna be. Let me just tell you- THEY ARE AMAZING. If you can get your hands on some good peaches can them now, eat them in the middle of winter, there is nothing better.
Canning peaches might sound intimidating, but let me assure you it is super easy. I thought I would share with you what I do.
What you need:
First the obvious- find some peaches. Spread them out on the table so that they ripen.
4 pots- a big one for the water bath, one for the syrup, one for blanching the peaches, and a small one for boiling the lids
A colander that fits in the blanching pot, this is optional. I found my colander at a thrift store- it ain't pretty but it gets the job done.Sugar- for the syrup
Water- this one you think should be easy- not so if you live without running water in your house
Canning jars and lids. I like to use quart jars, but have also used pint jars. If you take a lunch to work or have kids in school you could even use 1/2 pint jars.
I like Red Haven peaches, they are sweet, easy to pit, and can nicely. This year I bought 75 pounds. I know it sounds like a lot but I try to have enough to get us through the winter, plus a few to give away. Since Minnesota does not grow peaches in abundance (apparently there are peach trees in MN) I get mine from Michigan. I order with several other people so we get a great deal.
The first thing you want to do is wash and sanitize your canning jars. If you have a dishwasher this works great, if not what I do is wash them all- then right before filling 'em I stick them in the boiling water bath .
Next fill your water bath pot, it takes awhile for it to boil.
For the syrup, you can choose how heavy you want the syrup to be, I like a light syrup so I use 6 cups of water to 2 cups of sugar. This will make 7 cups of syrup (this is important to know, I will explain later).
It is important that the syrup be boiling hot when you fill the jars, so timing can be a little tricky but you will get the hang of it.
After you have your syrup combined and heating on the stove. Lets get pealing. In your blanching pot you should have boiling water. Place peaches in colander and put in water for 20 to 40 seconds. Do not cook your peaches, all you are doing is getting the skins loose. Take them out and put in cold water.
This is what I do, I know that I can fit 5 to 6 peaches, depending on the size, in each quart jar, and my water bath pot can fit 7 quarts so I blanch 45-50 peaches. I do them all at once then they are waiting to be peeled in the sink. Once all are peeled I cut them off the pit. I do not pull them off, I cut them off. You could also can them whole, peeled but whole. If you have chickens or know of someone who has chickens feed them the skins- they will love you for it.
Once you have them peeled and cut, pack them into the jars. It is important that you push down on them, squeeze them into the jar. Don't push so hard you turn them into mush, just hard enough that you pack them in. Now add your boiling syrup- I use about 3/4 to 1 cup per jar. SO if your water bath pot holds 7 quarts this would be perfect! Then I clean up the rims with a wet wash cloth, put the lids and rings on. Stick them in the water bath for 20 minutes, take them out and viola you have fresh canned peaches for the snowy, cold winter.