Our peach tree just ripened this week and today was a slightly slower day than the others this week, so today was the day I canned peached. Derek laughs at me every time I get on one of these canning sprees because I always vowed I would never be one of those women who canned. However, then we purchased a house with a bunch of mature fruit trees, and I felt terrible allowing all that beautiful free fruit go to waste, and so I became a canner. Canning peaches is quite the process. We began last night in preparation for today. Derek and I and all the kids picked as many ripe peaches as we could find on the tree and loaded the counter tops. The kids and I formed an assembly line collecting dusty glass jars and rings from the downstairs cabinets they reside in while empty and washed each and laid them all out to dry. I also usually bleach clean the sinks and counters which seems sort of silly because by the end of the canning day they are a stained mess again. Nonetheless, it makes me feel better to start with a clean kitchen. Then, the process began bright and early this morning.
Step 1: Boil a big pot of water.
Step 2: Fill the sink with ice water.
Step 3: Throw as many peaches as will fit into the boiling water until the skin begin to peel, then remove them with a slotted spoon and throw them into the ice sink.
Step 4: Slip the skins off. (After the hot water and ice bath this is generally really easy with ripe peaches).
Step 5: I have cling peaches in my yard (fruit that clings to the pit in the middle), so I cut my peaches in slices over a quart size jar with a funnel being sure to cut out any bird sampled or bruised parts before they slide into the jar. Generally a bunch of peach juice goes in as well which just means less syrup, so I feel the more the better.
Step 6: After all the peaches are peeled and sliced into jars, you make the syrup. You can use just water or just peach juice, the sugar is not needed to preserve the peaches. But a little sugar helps them keep their color and texture, so I settle for a very lite syrup ratio. That’s 10 1/2 C of water to 1 1/4 C of sugar. Combine them in a big pot and bring to a boil.
Step 7: I heat my lids up in a little hot water to sanitize/help them seal.
Step 8: Fill all jars with enough syrup to just cover the peaches.
Step 9: Slide a butter knife along one edge of each jar to get out all the air bubbles.
Step 10: Wipe the mouth of each jar with a clean wet rag and then don a lid and screw a ring on tight.
Step 11: Submerge in a water bath so the water covers by an inch or two, and heat to boiling.
Step 12: Process/boil for 20-30 minutes.
Step 13: Remove jars from the water bath and let sit without moving for a good day or overnight so that the lids seal. If any lid is bubbling out and can be pushed down, it did not seal and will need to be used right away rather than stored for later.