Last year my husband and I decided, for fun, that we would give canning a try. It seemed daunting and very foreign. However I had some good source of information (i.e. a good friend who keeps me supplied with apple butter, best around ever...I swear Linda) and a list of items we would need:
Ball Pint jars
Ball Blue Book of Preserving
Fast forward to this past weekend.
Peaches are in season and it is time to can again.
Last year the bulk of time was spent cleaning and cutting the peaches by hand, this year (a little wiser), we knew there had to be a quicker way to slice these.
So a quick trip to Williams Sonoma and we were the proud owner of:
This little gem works just like an apple slicer (although you do have to be careful and be sure to line it up).
While my husband was washing and cutting everything
I was responsible for the sanitizing of the jars, lids, and rings.
Not that difficult to do.
We just loaded up our canning pot and made sure water covered the tops of the jars. You have to boil the jars (and accessories) for 10 minutes. If you don't want to use a water bath you can put everything in the dishwasher.
Once your 10 minutes is up remove all of the items (make sure to pour out any water in the jars) and put them on a dish towel so they can be packed with your fruit.
We do a raw pack, which is just what is sounds like, you don't do a lot of prep work for the fruit which I find easier. Your other option is a hot pack, in which you place your fruit in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. You then dunk in a bowl of ice water to stop the “cooking.”.
Now that the jars are packed you must cover the peaches with a syrup, I prefer extra light so that there isn't too much added sugar.
Extra Light Syrup
5 1/2 C Water
1 C sugar
Combine the two ingredients and simmer until all of the sugar dissolves.
To add the syrup to your jars I HIGHLY recommend a funnel (a lot less mess)
The syrup should come just to the mouth of the jar.
You may have to make several batches of syrup. For the 27 jars we filled I had to make 4 batches of syrup.
You want to make sure that there aren't any air bubbles in your jars so you need to take a long object (such as a knife) and poke it in several places around the jar (you may see some bubbles rise to the surface).
After checking for bubbles you are ready to put on the lid and rings.
Your must then boil the jars to ensure they seal (which will allow them a nice long shelf life). For my canning kit I can fit 9 pint jars in the pot.
Cover the jars with water and boil for 25 minutes (the recommended time for peaches).
Once they are done remove them from the pot and allow to cool on the counter.
After about an hour you will hear a popping sound and that is your jars sealing. When you open them the top will pop to release the pressure.
When we were done this is what we were left with 27 jars of delicious, and naturally sweet, peaches.
You will be left with a bowl of pits like this
I would like to recommend that you compost these as they make great soil for a garden.