Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Canning Bug 1 of 2

I've been bit by the canning bug and I'm so giddy about it you'd think I was MG on Halloween (which is equivalent to most kids on Christmas morning). I remember my mom canning this and that way back when but I don't think I was much help. I begged my friend Donna to teach me this skill and thankfully she was up for the challenge since mom lives hundreds of miles away.

I was so grateful to get freshly picked organic peaches and pears from a great local source. They were only $1.25 per pound. I ordered 40 pounds of peaches and 25 pounds of pears.
The peaches were ready to be canned in just three days. Here is my play by play.


Supplies needed:
a) peaches
b) canning jars, quart size
c) sugar
d) a water bath canner
*and for novices you might want to find*
e) a friends who will let you bring all these items to their doorstep and teach you the tricks of the trade

Hopefully if you don't have such a friend my explanation will help you learn. First, clean canning jars and lids. No need to dry them. You also need to make sure that your cooking stove can sustain such high temperatures for the water bath canner for the entire amount of time your fruit needs the hot water bath. Not all cooking elements can do this so check your owners manual.
Place as many peaches with skin on in a hot water bath for 30 seconds to a minute. Peach must be fully submerged. You'll do several batches. Once skin will easily rub off with slight rub of the thumb quickly transfer them, using a colander, to your clean sink full of cold water for a cold water bath. This will stop the cooking process and making skinning a breeze.
Peaches can stay in the cold water bath as you multi task. Also while you are working on this place the canning lids only (rings not necessary) in a pot of hot water at the stove top to warm up.

Here's how easy it is to skin a peach following this method. It's so fast you might have to watch it a few times to get the idea. Isn't that awesome?

Before slicing the peaches you need to get the syrup started. Mix 8 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar in a saucepan. Get to a boil so the sugar dissolves completely. This will be the syrup you will pour over the peaches. (Correct me if I'm wrong on the water/sugar amounts Donna.) While the syrup is working to a boil you can begin slicing the peaches in half and remove the pits as you go.

Place peach halves in jars with the pit side down. I asked Donna why and she said because it's prettier that way. That's all the answer I needed and here is the proof in the pics below. Use a butter knife if you need help getting the peach the right side up. Sometimes you need to shake the jar gently and pat the bottom to make room for just one more peach half.

See... so pretty!

Once you've filled 7 jars with peaches pour the boiling hot syrup over them slowly to fill jars to the top of the first line which should be covering all peaches.
Using a funnel of course.

Put lids on peaches and screw the lid on as tight as you can. Then place in a canning pot with warm water. Water should cover the jars by one inch.

Once the pot is at a rolling boil turn timer on 30 minutes and allow them to sit in this hot boiling water bath for the full amount of time. When the 30 minutes is up you can take the peaches out and let them cool. Careful not to burn your self with water or steam.

Here are my beauties resting on a shelf in the garage. The jars make this pop sound when the seal. Every once in awhile a jar won't seal. In that case you simply put the jar in your refrigerator and eat right away.

I can't tell you what joy this brings me. Sometimes I like to sit and admire them because they are so beautiful! This project will bring me joy with every jar I open and since we made 23 jars of peaches and 14 jars of pears my family will enjoy them all winter long.

I'll post about canning the pears soon.
Thanks again Donna for all your patience and giving up some of your precious time. And, mom... thanks for placing the canning bug idea in my head years ago!


Heather said...

I'm impressed! That's a lot of peeling, pouring, and cooking. They are beautiful!

Jen said...

That sounds so fun! I hope to do that myself one day. :)

Amidey (aka Crazy Lady) said...

Hey, I just wanted you to know that I posted that Leek soup recipe that you wanted. You can check my blog if you want it. Those peaches look good. I just helped my friend can hers this week. Okay, I just watched but I did make some awesome peach crisp stuff. Yummy!