Each winter I sit around looking at farm/gardening magazines, newspapers, and reading blogs dreaming about canning and gardening. Oh the things I will do! Then, as summer arrives, life gets busy. I work all day coming home dead beat and my stuff just sits in the garden or on my counter, waiting for me. Eventually it gets to the compost pile and I get no canning done! Then, winter comes again and I think, "Next year!"
It occurred to me the other day while reading one of my favorite blogs (Hickery Holler Farm Blog) that most people who work on canning projects are working on it when they are also dead tired, that typically days aren't set aside for these projects but they are fit into already busy days. Families work together to get the summer's bounty preserved at the end of already long days. The fact is, that I am NO DIFFERENT THAN ANYONE ELSE! I'm tired and I still have stuff to do! There are never enough hours in the day for me or anyone else ha! Yet, THEY still get it done while I just dream about it.
In an earlier post, I mentioned making Peach Preserves with some special summer peaches that I bought locally not too far from my home. I had lots of peaches leftover and on Tuesday they were fading fast. Definitely they weren't waiting for the weekend.
After making supper Tuesday night, I jumped right in! I had never canned peaches before but dug out my trusty Ball Blue Book. In it I found this recipe for canning peaches "cold pack", which basically means you sterilize the jars, lids, and rings; peel, pit, and slice the peaches directly into the jars; and pour over the fruit a hot light-sugar syrup; then process in a hot water bath.
I liked this method because I could do however many peaches I had and I wasn't required to have a big bunch of peaches to work with. I've also discovered this summer that canning isn't about having a truckload of fruits or vegetables to work with. Sometimes small batch canning is the best of both worlds; both manageable and affordable.
Here's how I made Home Canned Peaches AT HOME MY WAY:
- Peaches (ripe)
- Fruit Fresh (optional)
- Jars, lids & rings (jars and rings are reusable; lids are not)
Sterilize jars, lids & rings. I used the dishwasher for my jars and placed the lids and rings in a small pot of water on the stove to stay hot until I was ready for them.
Peaches are like tomatoes, you can place them in boiling water and then cold water and the peelings slip right off. So, I put about 10 peaches in a pot of boiling water until I could see the peelings loosening and then placed them in a sink of cold water. I then added more peaches to the pot and kept adding them to the sink with cold water until they were all ready to peel.
I slipped my knife around the dip in each peach, pulling the two halves apart; removed the pit, peeled and removed any soft spots, and sliced into my sterilized jars.
Light Sugar Syrup:
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 1/2 cups water
5 1/2 teaspoons of Fruit Fresh (optional)
Place in a pot that will pour easily and heat until the sugar dissolves. Keep hot until ready to pour over the peaches in the jars.
As the jars are filled jars with fruit, pour over the syrup - leaving space of about 3/4 inch at the top of the jar. Add lids/rings, and tighten but not too tight.
When I ran out of syrup and still had peaches, I just made some more. It doesn't take long to get ready and just heats a minute to dissolve the sugar.
Water Bath process - for 20 minutes for pints; 25 minutes for quarts.
(Water needs to completely cover the jars in the canner and they need to sit upright - no laying down jars.) NO PRESSURE CANNING NEEDED.
After they process, remove them from the water and sit on the counter to cool/seal. You will hear them pop when they do that.
Now won't these taste delicious come about February? Maybe I'll eat some while I'm reading gardening blogs and planning the next gardening/canning season!