Monday, October 4, 2010

Sweet as a Peach

Each year it seems that I am becoming more of the domestic diva I always said I would never be! Guess that's why you should never say NEVER! ;)
A few weekends ago, I decided to learn how to can peaches with my sister & mom (our teacher.) Now in our family we tend do do things BIG. And by big, I mean 120 lbs. of peaches. 

This picture doesn't accurately portray just how many peaches 120 lbs. worth really is. Trust me, it's a LOT!
 These are my Mom's books, which we used as reference. We used directions from the Ball Blue Book to can and the recipe included with Certo to make the jam.

My cute Mom got my sister and these cute baskets. You can use it to can 3 quarts in a regular stock pot. We found the basket worked nicely when blanching the peaches as well.

 As seen here!

Here is a pix of canning the pictures. Somehow I didn't get a picture of us peeling and cutting the peaches (this is where all the work is). Look at the warm color of the peaches. Yummmmm.

Final results: 39 Quarts, 19 Pints, 9 Jelly Jars (8 oz), 8 jelly jars (6 oz), 10 gallon bags frozen  (didn't get pictures of these either.)

Picking your peaches & recipes for canning, jam and freezing ...
Picking your peaches
Peaches generally come in two varieties, come in two general types: freestone (flesh readily separates from the pit) and clingstone (flesh clings tightly to the pit). Most people prefer to preserve freestone varieties. Good varieties for canning include Veteran, Early Elberta, Elberta, Rochester, Hale, Alamar, Redglobe, Redhaven, and Sun Crest.

Select peaches that are fairly firm. The skin color between the red areas should be yellow or creamy. Avoid hard peaches which have a distinct green color. These are immature and probably
will not ripen satisfactorily. They will be hard to peel and the pits will cling even when ripe. Also
avoid overripe peaches and those with large bruises or signs of decay.

It takes about 2‐3 pounds of peaches to fill a quart jar. A bushel weighs about 48 pounds and yields about 18‐24 quarts of fruit. A lug yields 8‐12 quarts of fruit.

Peaches may be canned, frozen, dried, pickled and made into jams and preserves.

Peaches must be processed in a boiling water canner. Most people opt to remove the skins before canning their peaches. Blanch (dip them in boiling water) them for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to ice cold water. This should allow the skin to peel off freely. Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Slice, if desired. To prevent darkening during preparation, put the cut fruit into water containing 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder per gallon of water. Or, put them directly into the jars and add a splash of lemon juice.

Peaches may be canned in sugar syrup, juice, or water. Suitable juices are apple, orange, and pineapple.

Peaches canned with syrup will hold their shape better. For a 9‐pint load, use the following proportions.

Type of syrup          Cups of water           Cups of sugar
Very light                               6 ½                               ¾
Light                                        5 ¾                                1 ½
Medium                                  5 ¼                                2 ¼
Heavy                                      5                                     3 ¼

Use either the hot or raw pack method:
Hot pack ‐ In a large saucepan place drained fruit in sugar syrup, water or juice and bring to a boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving ½ inch headspace. Place halves in layers,
cut side down. Adjust lids and process in boiling water canner: pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes.

Raw pack ‐ Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice or syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner: pints 25 minutes, quarts 30 minutes.

Certo Peach Jam
4 cups prepared fruit (about 3 lb. fully ripe peaches)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
7-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin Make It
  1. BRING boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
  2. PEEL and pit peaches. Finely chop or grind fruit. Measure exactly 4 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. STIR sugar into prepared fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reducing foaming. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  4. LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids springs back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Freezing Fresh Peaches
We got this recipe for freezing peaches from a cute blog, Distracted Homemaker since both my sis and I love to make smoothies. Plus you can thaw and have fresh peaches any time of the year!

Freezing Fresh Peach by Distracted Homemaker:

1 Can frozen orange juice concentrate (12 ounces)
1 Can frozen lemonade concentrate (12 ounces)
1/2 to 1 can pineapple juice (46 ounces)
2 Bushels of peaches

Mix all of the juice and concentrate together in a giant bowl (DO NOT ADD WATER). Add sliced peaches (peeled or unpeeled, both are fine… it is really what your preference is) Then divide your peaches and liquid among quart size freezer Ziploc bags. Leave enough room in the bag so that you can close it and lay it flat in the freezer. This makes them easier to store. You can add a thickener like ultra sperse if you want the peaches to be more saucy when you defrost them. If you want to add a bit of Fruit Fresh you can, but it isn’t really necessary… when you thaw these in January and use them you will swear it is September!

Tips and Tricks: This is kind of a “wing it” recipe… I usually put all of the juice into a large bowl and slice my peaches right into that very bowl. I just stand over it and slice away! Then when the bowl is full I scoop up the peaches into ziplock freezer bags with a slotted spoon and then start again to slice into the liquid. I just do this until it is all used up. Some times I put a 1/4 cup of the liquid into each bag of peaches at the end so I don’t waste anything!
Send me your canning pictures, I'd love to see them!

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