One cannot can without having canned peaches in their rotation. I must admit, canning 40 lbs of peaches in the summer is a lot of work. Blanching, skinning, pitting, etc. and you basically never want to look at another peach again. The reason I continue to can them is simple: picture a cold, dark weeknight around 6 pm in the dead of winter. It is pitch black already even though it’s not that late at night. Dinner is served along with a glass Mason jar of canned peaches. Oh man, the sweet peaches served alongside a roast dinner is like summer in a jar. Every peach is eaten and the syrup is drank. This is why we can peaches.
For this recipe I can in a medium hot syrup that consists of sugar and water. A medium syrup is recommended with this hot pack method. I do not recommend artificial sweeteners as they have a bitter, off taste especially when heated.
Equipment needed: waterbath canner, rack, mason jars, new lids, screw bands, jar lifter, canning funnel.
A twenty pound box makes about 15 pints or 8 quarts
20 lbs of peaches blanched, peeled, halved, pitted, and treated to prevent browning*
2 batches of hot syrup (recipe below)
Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot, soapy water. Examine jars for any nicks or scratches. Place rack in bottom of waterbath canner. Place empty mason jars in canner and add water to jars and canner until the water just reaches the tops of the jars. Bring water to a simmer.
Place lids in a small saucepan and heat. Do not boil, but keep lids hot until you are ready to use them.
Prepare the recipe:
In a large stainless steel saucepan, one layer at a time, warm peaches in hot syrup over low heat until heated through. About one minute per layer. (Hot packing prevents fruit from floating upward in the jars after processing).
Using a slotted spoon, pack hot peaches, cavity side down, into hot jars with a 1/2″ headspace from top of lid. Remove air bubbles with skewer and adjust headspace again with more hot syrup if needed. Wipe rim with damp cloth to remove any syrup or food particles. Center lid onto jar, screw lids on until finger tight.
Place jars in canner ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process pint jars for 20 minutes and quart jars for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and wait 5 minutes before removing jars. Remove jars and place on dishtowel-lined countertops (to prevent jar breakage). Do not test seal or move jars for at least 12 hours. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal and eat within one week.
Clean jars, date, and store peaches in cool, dark place for up to 12 months.
Makes one batch of 7 cups of syrup
3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
In a stainless steel saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until needed.
*I use citric acid under the Ball Canning brand to prevent fruit from browning. This product is found in many stores that sell canning supplies. You can also submerge fruit in a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 4 cups water.
Recipe from “Complete Book of Home Preserving” by Ball.