I am a firm believer in eating organically, locally and in season. To me, preserving the summer bounty extends the season and the fruits of the farmer’s labor.
This is only my second year canning. I’ve dabbled through the years in jams and applesauce but have really gotten into it these last two years. While canning can seem rather intimidating at first, really it’s time consuming but very easy.
Some tips before we get started: I don’t like using sugar when I can do without it. Peaches can be canned with honey or a juice, such as grape. I prefer to peel my peaches with a vegetable peeler. I tried freezing my first batch and basically ruined 25 pounds of peaches. They turned to mush when I tried to peel them. I still canned them but they are not pretty! I realize this is probably “user error” because Modern Alternative Mama froze hers and they came out beautifully. Peaches can also be blanched to get the peels off but I didn’t have time for that either. Buy a canning kit like this one locally or on Amazon to make your life easier. You can use a water bath canner or pressure canner but I just use a large stock pot.
I get beautiful no-spray peaches from my local farmer at $25 for a 25 lb box. This is a great price for pesticide-free peaches! Search out your local markets for organic or no-spray peaches or use Local Harvest to locate a farm near you. Peaches are on the Dirty Dozen list so you definitely do not want conventionally grown.
Okay. Enough chit chat. Time to can.
What you’ll need:
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (Figure on 1 teaspoon per jar)
Large measuring cup or bowl
Paring knife, cutting board, vegetable peeler
Ball jars, lids, and rings
Canning tools, tongs, magnet, etc. (Optional)
Start out with ripe, just soft to the touch peaches. You don’t want them to be too hard or too soft. There’s a happy medium to perfect canning peaches that you really have to use your instincts for. Sterilize your jars. I use my dishwasher on the Sani Cycle. Simmer water on the stove and sterilize lids and rings.
Peel the peaches with whichever method you are most comfortable with. Cut them in half and remove the pits.
Slice peaches into about 1/4 inches thick slices. As you can see in the picture below, it’s a messy process. I had some peaches go bad so I did not use them. You can see in the picture that they are overly ripe and have too many bruises to can.
Ahem! Moving on from the mess…Continue to fill jars up to right underneath the threads – an inch below the tops of the jars.
When all the jars are full add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to each jar to preserve color. Mix a scant 1/2 cup of honey to 8 cups of filtered water and stir to dissolve. Fill each jar to cover peaches leaving 1 inch of head room. Alternatively, you can use white grape juice diluted about 50/50 with water. I had some organic mango nectar that I added to 4 of my jars per my husband’s request.
Place lids and rings on to jars. The are easy to remove from the simmering water if you use the magnet that comes in the canning kit. Don’t put the rings on too tightly. Place them into your canner or large stock pot and make sure the water level is 1 inch above the tops of the jars, put the lid on and turn the heat to high. I find it safer to bring the water to a boil once the jars are in. Less chance of getting burned that way.
Once the water boils, set the timer for 20 minutes and let the jars process. You may need to turn the heat down slightly if the water starts to sputter out the top. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let the water settle before removing the jars.
Remove the jars carefully from the pot and allow to cool. Do not let the jars touch each other and don’t mess with them while they cool. If they processed properly, they will pop on their own. The peaches will have “floated” to the top of the jars and the seal will be tight if they processed right. I had a couple of jars that didn’t process correctly so I put the in my refrigerator to be eaten soon.
Voila! Canned peaches with no sugar!
Questions? Comments? What are you canning this year? Do you have any tips to share?
This post is part of Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Days, Teach Me Tuesday, I Did It Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Once Upon a Weekend, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Traditional Tuesdays, Tuesday Garden Party, Thrifty Thursday, Tuesday Confessional, Little House in the Suburbs, Fat Tuesday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Small Footprint Fridays, Teach Me Tuesdays, A Titus Tuesday.
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