My family preserves many different kinds of food, but the one we get the most compliments on is our peaches. Already this summer I've received several phone calls about "how do you can those peaches"? So, I thought, "why not blog about it and share the joy with the world?"
If canning sounds overwhelmingly difficult to you, let me surprise you. It's not! It's actually quite simple and I will lay out the steps one by one to help you through the process. An added benefit to canning your own food is knowing just what all is going into your families tummies! After a long days work of preserving food, it feels good to step back and see what you've accomplished in caring for your families needs!
Now, peaches. First of all, if you want awesome canned peaches - you have to use awesome peaches, and (this is for all you seasoned peach preservers) believe it or not, we use Baby Golds. Baby Gold's are usually ready sometime in September. Yes, they are harder to peel. Yes, the pit is difficult to extract. But enjoying the delicious taste of canned peaches (that haven't turned to mush) five months later is, oh, so worth it!
On the Stutzman Farm, my SIL's, Christy (who's having a birthday today), Elizabeth and Karista, all join in to help can several bushels in one day. Sometimes we even have a few friends join us, and the day is full of chatter, laughter and back-breaking work.
Here's how we do it:
1. Fill a large tub with water and get the kids to start washing the fuzzies off.
3. Drop peeled peaches into a bowl of cold water until ready to dice.
4. We dice our peaches with a Veg-O-Matic. These are not very easy to find, but they are WONDERFUL to use! If you have little ones in the house, dicing your peaches is a great way for little fingers and mouths to easily enjoy the sweet taste. Here's what a Veg-O-Matic looks like and even a link to where you can purchase one yourself!
5. Prepare syrup. My grandma used equal parts water and sugar. I tend to use 6 cups of sugar to 8 cups of water. You are welcome to adjust the sugar levels to whatever makes you comfortable. Mix your sugar and water together in a large kettle and heat just until sugar is dissolved.
7. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a wet rag and place lid and ring on jar. I always boil my lids (not the rings) before using them, but we don't boil the jars as some suggest.
8. Place filled jars in large canner. I fill the canner with water until it just covers the top of the jars. Bring canner to a boil. This is called a hot water bath.
9. After jars have boiled for 20 minutes, remove and let them cool. We lay old bath towels on a table or counter and line the jars up there when they've gone through the water bath part.
10. Listen for the delightful popping sound as the lids begin to seal and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. (See that wasn't hard, was it?)
These peaches will be a great addition to any meal. We eat them plain, with cottage cheese, in a cobbler and mixed with blueberries. You can even use them for pies, as a gift or as a cheesecake topping.