Monday, August 11, 2014

Canning Party 2014: Peach Edition

I recently had several friends express an interest in spending the day learning how to can food. So I invited them over for #CanningParty2014! In all, six of us had a fun day catching up, talking food and preserving a bushel of peaches. A special shout out to a younger guest, who willingly spent the day with a bunch of oldsters to learn the craft. It feels good to get new canners involved, but especially rewarding when young folks express interest.

We preserved 21 quarts of peaches (they all sealed! And no broken jars!). I snagged a few peaches for tarts and have a few leftovers I'll toss into the next round of canning. With all those hands, we drove through the bushel in about three hours. The sticky kitchen floor was a small price to pay for preserving so much product in a short amount of time.

Peaches can be dehydrated, frozen or canned. We can most for eating and freeze a few for baking. If the crop is big, we'll make a puree and dry into fruit leather.

I purchased peaches from a local orchard. These were shipped in due to the harsh winter.
Our own peach trees died or survived but didn't produce fruit. 
Peaches are shipped under ripe to withstand the rigors of travel.
To aid ripening, I placed them on the counter, under newspaper which traps ethylene gas.
It's similar to placing them in a brown paper bag to ripen.
Adding a banana will hasten the process.
Before canning, peel and pit peaches. To prevent browning, peaches can be placed in an acidulated solution of 1 Tbsp commercial fruit preservative (commonly known as Fruit Fresh or ascorbic acid) to 1 quart of water. 

Remove peaches from acidulated water and place cavity side down, overlapping in jar.
Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over peaches, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Adjust two piece lids and process in a boiling water bath canner.

Cool jars on the counter away from drafts. Before storing, remove rings and wipe down jar.
Store in a cool dry place for up to one year.
Leftover peaches? Place into a jar, pour extra syrup over and place in refrigerator.
Eat within a week. Note: the jar shown is a half gallon jar, used only for storage.
The USDA does not recommend for use in canning. 
Or use your leftover peaches in a galette.

Canned Peaches, raw pack
Adapted from The Ball Blue Book
Click here for step-by-step water bath canning information

2 to 3 lbs peaches per quart jar
Fruit Fresh or Ascorbic Acid
Syrup (recipe follows)

Peel peaches by placing into boiling water for 2 minutes then plunging onto ice bath. Cut peaches in half, remove skins and pits. To prevent darkening, place peeled peaches in a solution of 1 Tbsp commercial fruit protector (like Fruit Fresh) in a quart of water. Make syrup and heat until sugar dissolves. Keep syrup hot while continuing to peel peaches. Drain peaches and pack cavity side down in jars, layering and overlapping fruit. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over peaches, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece lids and process quarts in a boiling water bath: Quarts for 30 minutes, pints for 25 minutes.

This makes a medium syrup (about 40 percent sugar)
3 1/4 cups sugar
5 cups water
Heat sugar and water until hot and sugar is dissolved. Yields 7 cups of syrup.

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