Monday, July 11, 2011

Canning peaches without expensive equipment

We grew up canning peaches every couple years in the Wayward household. I remembered it as a lot of hot, sticky work, using out sinks and pots and pans and a big canner. While it's still hot and sticky sometimes (I haven't gotten all the sugar off my stove!), it doesn't take a big canner or a lot of special equipment to can your own fruit!

Most fruit is safe to can using a boiling water bath, and peaches are no exception. You'll want to check with your local extension to find out the best processing time for your elevation first. I started with July Flame freestone yellow peaches (aren't they gorgeous?). We bought a 25lb box through a local co-op and before we could even make a dent in them, they were starting to ripen. So I canned about half of them one day last week.

First you need to fill your tallest pot with water and set it on to boil. I have a stock pot, and really, nothing shorter than that will work. Even with that pot, I could only use shorter wide-mouthed pint jars. Here's the set up: the stock pot is on the back burner on the left-hand side. It has a colander or inner basket that goes with it (on the back right-hand burner). The front burner is the pot with sugar syrup.


The sugar syrup helps the fruit to keep it shape, color and flavor, though it isn't necessary to preserve it. I chose a very light syrup (about 10% sugar, or 1 cup of sugar boiled in 7 cups of water), but you can use a heavier syrup or even apple or white grape juice. Whatever you choose, it needs to be hot, hence the pot on the stove.

Now we prepare the fruit. First, we have to peel them. We need a big bath of ice water, and you can use a big bowl, but we've always used one part of our sink. (I used the adjoining part of my sink to keep the jars hot in hot water, so my ice melted quickly.) I could fit four large peaches on one level in the strainer basket.

Dip them in the boiling water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. (The less ripe your fruit is, the longer this takes. A longer time helps make it easier to slip the skins off the fruit.)

(This is the same pot of boiling water I'll be using to process the jars.)

After the time was up, I drained the basket and dumped the peaches into the ice bath:

(There are two batches of peaches in there). I moved them around to cool them off faster.

To get the peel off, use a knife to cut an X in the skin. You can peel the skin off after that (sometimes this works better than others).

Notice that the fruit inside has taken on some of the color of the skin. The longer you boil it, the more of the color it takes on. (I like this, but if you don't, it's something else to keep in mind.)

Then cut the fruit up. I always have a tough time cutting up ripe soft fruits, but I found a good way this time. After cutting all the way around the fruit, put the knife back into the cut and twist the handle. This wedges the halves open, at least allowing you to get your fingers in there to pull it apart.

Remove the pit. You can leave the peach in halves, or you can cut it into quarters or slices. I sliced mine. However you cut your peaches, they'll need an ascorbic acid bath. I used Fruit Fresh and water in a bowl:
You can also put a little Fruit Fresh into the sugar syrup (which I did). Once the fruit has had a good dip, I used a slotted spoon to move them to the sugar syrup. The fruit needs to be heated through before packing in jars. This "hot pack" method has better results than raw pack.
 The foaming only happened on the last batch, and honestly, it's not supposed to. I tried to skim the foam off.

Before packing, I heated up the jars more by dipping them in the still-boiling pot of water. (I did the same with the lids and rings). I did use two pieces of special inexpensive equipment: a jar funnel and a jar lifter.
 I used the funnel and the spoon to fill the jars with fruit. Once all the jars were about 3/4 full (okay, to be honest, I overpacked almost all my jars and had trouble with the syrup siphoning out. So don't do that!), I poured the sugar syrup into the jars.

I used a knife to make sure I had at least half an inch of headspace above the liquid and fruit, and to run along the edges to release any trapped bubbles.
After this I skimmed that foam off.

Then I warmed up the lids and put them on, then the rings, only finger tight. I used extra rings as a "rack" on the bottom of the boiling water pot to keep water circulating around all sides of the jars:


These rings are to half-pint jars, so they're smaller than the bottoms of my jars--otherwise, the jars tend to fall inside the rings. I only made three jars at a time because that was all that fit inside the pot. I used a jar lifter to put the jars into the water and made sure the water covered them well. Once the water returned to a boil, I started the timer (40 minutes, I think, for my elevation).

I used the jar lifter to get them out again and let them cool on a towel. All but one of the lids POPPED, meaning they're sealed and safe (the one jar went into the fridge).

17 large peaches yielded 11 pints of canned peaches.

Want to get started canning? There are some coupons in yesterday's paper (SmartSource coupons) for $2 off a canning discovery kit or $1 off canning supplies from Ball. I have four coupons which I won't be using, so if you can't find yours, just leave a comment saying you want a coupon here and I'll send you one! (If we have more than four people who want them by July 18th, I'll choose at random.)

19 comments :

Ashley said...

thanks for the post, got to get canning myself!

Brave Brooke said...

yum! I can't wait to go the farmers market and get some canning done!

Staci J said...

This is one of those "someday projects" I hope to do!! Thanks for your sweet comments about my lemonade stand, and stopping by our little ol' blog last week!! Looks like you guys are having a fun summer!

Jill said...

It's so nice seeing all of these lovely summery projects about - we're in winter here in Australia!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

Tracy said...

I think you need to send me a few jars to test, just so I can decide if this is something I want to try ;)

Brit @ JandMs Eye Candy said...

Ohh man I remember canning season at my grandma's house. Great memories :) I haven't thought about canning for such a long time. I think that I might just tackle it. Thanks for the step by step, and the pictures. As always thanks for linking up! XOXO
Britney
www.jandmseyecandy.blogspot.com

Heather Landry said...

I've never canned anything but my grandma does all the time. She grew her own grapes this year and made grape jelly. Then she brought it to my kids! Your post certainly makes me want to try it sometime. Thanks for sharing!

shopannies said...

thanks for sharing will be doing some canning myself soon come see me at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

Ellise @ Charles Whyte said...

This reminds me of my childhood as my mum had so many Fowlers Vacola jars that she would fill with fruits of the season. Yum. Thanks for your lovely comment on my imitation designer prints.

Creating Sarah said...

This kind of post is exactly why I love blogs. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Katie said...

Thank you for sharing your recipe and linking up to Sew Woodsy, unfortunately I had to remove it from the link party. This is a craft only link party.

Michelle said...

I am from Brigham City where they celebrate Peach Days so I can totally vibe with this. We love canning peaches every year. Thanks for linking up with DIY under $5!

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

I have to be honest and say I will never do this...but I enjoyed seeing how it should be done! I bet they are so good...I saw your link at A Creative Princess and am a new follower.

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

Wow! I am so impressed! You girls are way braver than me! I've never tackled canning. Great job! Thank you for linking up!

Farmer's Wyfe said...

LOVE canned peaches...they taste SOOO much better than the store canned ones, don't they!! They're worth the work, to me! :)

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

I SO needed to read this post since we've only frozen our peaches....and I've run out of freezer space! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Now following you and also inviting you to stop over and add any recipe on my weekend foodie blog hop! 8 blogs are featured each week! If you can, I'd be so appreciative if you could add my foodie blog hop (both Friday and Saturday) buttons to your most extensive and wonderful button list that you have here on your blog! I thank you in advance for your kindness!

Mindie Hilton said...

Canning is something my mom did a lot of and I have been wanting to try. Thanks for linking to Bacon Time. Hope to see you soon.

Mindie Hilton said...

ps, following you all with GFC

Jami said...

Hey Jordan!
Thanks for linking up your awesome peach canning tute at the Tuesday To Do Party last week! I'm trying to get caught up after finally getting my commenting issues resolved!
Have a great week!
Smiles!
Jami

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