Summer 2013 harvest: Canning peaches

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My peach trees are still babies, and not really producing anything right now – certainly not peaches as beautiful as these!  So, I bought two boxes of local peaches at the farmers market – making sure that they were free stone, which I failed to do the first time, to my great regret.  Here’s the  steps for canning them:

Boil peaches in hot water for 30-45 seconds (this is to make their skins easy to remove), then put them in a colander and run cold water over them.

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Peel off the skins (place in a plastic bucket for composting – NOT a paper bag because it will soak through even if double-bagged, I learned the hard way!)  Cut each peach in half, and pull apart at the cut, being careful not to squish the peach flesh in the process.  Then cut each half again, so the peach is cut in quarters.  Remove the pit.  Place the peach quarters in a large bowl (you don’t want to leave them here too long, because they’ll start to brown almost immediately).

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Mix up the sugar solution in advance – boil 6 cups water, then add 2 cups of sugar (this makes enough for 7 quart jars).  Add in 6 tsp of Fruit Fresh.

Sterilize jars and rims in advance, as well, either by running them through the sterilize cycle on the dishwasher, or boiling them in the canning pot.  Put the peach quarters in the jars (I use wide-mouth quarter jars, and then a few wide-mouth pint jars for individual servings).   Pour in the sugar solution, making sure that it covers the peaches and comes up to 1/4″ from the rim (any exposed peach flesh will brown).  Jiggle a butter knife around in the jar to get out any air bubbles.

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Heat the lids slightly in a pan of boiling water – this will make them adhere better to the jar.  Put on a lid, then screw on the rim.  Put the peaches in a hot bath canner for 20 minutes (timed from the time when the water in the canner begins to boil).

Alia and a peach
Alia is AMAZED by the size of these peaches!
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