Monday, November 2, 2009

Canning Peaches

I'll admit that I'm a rookie at canning peaches. This is only my second go-around, but I decided to document the process.

My first attempt (years ago) was not successful because I chose a good eating peach, not a good canning peach, and I think they were too ripe. I had used Angelos on my first attempt and will never do that again.

This year I selected O'Henries. I would have preferred to have bought Lemon Elbertas, but it was too late in the season by the time I got around to it (you know what they say about snoozing and losing....) Whatever peach you decide to get, make sure the pit is free (freestone) and not a cling. You'll hate yourself if you get cling peaches.

Also, I used Ball's Blue Book for instructions and processing times, adjusted processing times according to their elevation chart, and elected to use an extra-light syrup.

I like to do as much prep work ahead of time as possible, because once the skins come off the peaches, they begin to brown. So, I prepped two recipes of syrup and had it ready to go.

Also, I always wash my jars ahead of time, and I keep my lids and rings in a pot of hot water on the stove. Also, I wash all the fruit before I begin.

Next, I filled one side of the sink with COLD water and put a strainer in the other side (for skins and stems).

Using several pots of scalding hot water, I blanch the peaches for about 1 minute (the skins will begin to wrinkle or split). You don't want to cook the peaches so it is important to get them out pronto.

The blanched peaches then get dumped into the sink of cold water, and if you are lucky, you can get your kids to skin them for you!

Quickly pit and slice into halves, quarters or smaller slices (more can fit into the bottles if the peaches are sliced smaller). Some people scrape the reddish brown inner part of the peach out. Whatever. Do it if you want.

I fill a bowl of cold water with fruit fresh in it so that the peaches won't brown too much. Then I fill jars, shaking/twisting the jar occasionally to settle the fruit into the bottom. Some people painstakingly arrange the slices in pretty layers. Whatever. Do it if you want.

Don't forget to get a pot of syrup on while you are slicing and filling bottles. When it is ready, fill each jar, wipe the rim, and affix the lid and ring.

Then process according to process method and instructions. This recipe called for water bathing. Just as a reminder, you begin counting the processing time when the water is at a rolling boil. And, of course, the lid should be used!

After processing, let them cool and wait for the ***POP*** When totally cool, check each seal, wipe them down, remove the rings, date, and store. Then eat.

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