Saturday, August 21, 2010

Canning Peaches

Peaches are my very favorite fruit, and good peaches are available for such short time each year, I used to eat a lot of canned peaches from the store. Unfortunately they were a sad substitute for the fresh stuff. I liked a particular type from the store, but it was expensive, and one day I noticed on the label that the peaches were from Israel! Now, I have nothing against Israel, but I don't want my food to be that well traveled! So after finishing the Food Preservation classes this spring, I was really looking forward to canning my own local peaches.

Last week I went to Kunze Farms in Vancouver and bought a 20# box of peaches. They were very nice there, and gave me samples to try so I could get just what I wanted. The local peaches weren't great because of the weird weather we've had this year, but they had some peaches from Yakima (the dry side of the state), and they were juicy and delicious! So even though I wanted 'local' peaches, I decided local to my state was better than nothing.


 The ladies said to give them a few days to ripen, and that when they were soft around the stem end, they'd be perfect. So all week I've been checking them and eating peaches that were getting overripe :) YUM! Finally I decided they were all ready to can.



So, first step in canning peaches is to peel the fuzzy little guys. I got a tip on how to do this from the How To Cook Like Your Grandmother blog - which is an awesome blog if you love good food! You cut an x on the bottom of them and drop them in boiling water for a minute.



Then you put them in cold water.



And the skin peels right off. The hardest part of this whole process was cutting the peach in half and prying the halves apart without crushing them. I'm afraid quite a few got mangled in the process. Then I remove the pit and throw them all in a big pot, which contains white grape juice and some 'Fruit Fresh' to help them keep their color. Pits go in the compost heap, skins and scraps go in a bowl for the chickens.



When I had enough I brought the pot to a boil and then filled my first six jars, sealed them, and put them in the water bath canner. While they boiled for 20 minutes, I skinned and cut up the rest of the peaches.



Then I was able to do the next six jars. I'm using pints here because quarts just seem too big for just the two of us. So the second batch goes in the canner.



Oh my gosh, there's still a bunch left. Enough for two freezer containers full...



And a peach cobbler...YUM!



What a great day! :)


And enough local peaches to last me until next peach season!
_

3 comments:

Goofy said...

I'll be delighted to help you with that peach cobbler! :)
I should learn how to can. I know it's not that hard....

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Mmmm! We didn't get as many peaches from our peach tree as last year, but we still got over 68oz of freezer jam, a few smoothies, and a peach cobbler from our harvest.

You're so knowledgeable! I knew about the blanching, but not the cutting of the 'x'. Cool tip!

I've never canned our peaches and am not exactly sure how. It seems to technical and scary because of the bacteria issues if not done right.

Can you can without buying the water canner? How did they can in the old days before fancy gizmos?
I bought a bunch of canning supplies and am hoping to can some of the apples from our trees, but I'll probably end up just freezing them because I'm afraid to try the canning. lol!

~Lisa

StefRobrts said...

Lisa, stop by someplace that sells canning supplies (our feed store does) and buy a Ball Blue Book - it's a great reference for safely canning. Apples and peaches are easy to can safely because of their high acidity, which protects you from some of the nastiest potential bugs, and the boiling water bath (which can be done in an ordinary big pot) protects you from the rest. The Blue Book will have step by step instructions. It's really easy.