The month of August is the time of year when we start to put in supplies for the winter! I know that sounds like we’re pioneers trying to save food for the long, hard, cold winter, but that’s how I’ve always felt about it. My family used to do these things every year when I was growing up, and now everyone seems to be so into preserving local produce. It’s the way our grandparents preserved the fruit and vegetables from their own gardens and orchards back when they were young (and during the Great Depression), and they also make sure they had some fresh food in the middle of winter here in Minnesota. Now we’re doing it just because it’s the best way to get fresh and local food saved for later use. We know what’s in the food and we know where it came from. I love that. We’re starting to harvest vegetables from the garden and there are delicious fruits in the markets like berries, peaches, and pears to can or freeze, and there are apples to make into applesauce or desserts. There are so many fun ways to preserve foods, and it’s time to get busy, busy, busy!! Canning was a family chore. Both grandmas and my mom would all do it, and I would help them all with it. August was always a warm time of year to do this because none of the three homes had air conditioning. We’d fire up the electric fans and we’d be ready to work. It was always fun to do it together when everyone pitched in and made the chore go faster. Someone had to blanch the fruit and get it into the ice water bath to make the peeling easier, then someone had to do the peeling and cutting (I loved to snitch pieces of the fruit when doing this, but the more you snitched of the delicious fruit, the longer it would take, so snitching was out!), and someone had to be in charge of the canner and the timing. It was a bit of hard work, but a lot of fun and family time. Peaches (Canned) is a basic recipe that you can use to get your peaches ready to use later. They don’t last long when you buy them, as we all know, and once they’re ripe, it’s go time.
There are a couple of different sized batches here to choose from, depending on how many pints you want to get from your peaches. Lucky you! You get a bonus canned pear recipe here!
Here is the recipe as I made it:
Mix together in a saucepan:
1 pint water
1 cup sugar
13 peaches (quartered, halved, or sliced)
Bring to a boil.
Put into clean, hot jars, top with a lid and a ring, and process according to the National Center for Food Preservation website.
It’s funny how something so simple can end up being so delicious!
You can use the boiling water/ice bath method for peeling, but if the peaches are ripe enough, you don’t really need to do that. Just peel them any way you want to.
So pretty. I love peaches.
Peeling and quartering takes a while, so I would do that first. The recipe calls for 13 peaches, but I thought my peaches looked a bit small so I used 15. I got 4 pints instead of 3 from those 15 peaches.
The National Center for Food Preservation shows two ways to make peaches: hot pack or cold pack, and I used hot pack here. That just means the fruit and syrup are hot when you put them into the jars.
Putting the fruit into the jars is definitely easier with a wide-mouthed canning funnel. I only had 4 jars of fruit, so I used my large stockpot instead of the canner. Put something like a silicone trivet or a folded up dishcloth between the bottom of the pot and the jars, if possible, to prevent cracking the jars.
Take the jars out of the canner or pot and let them cool on a rack. Listen for the pop of the lids to know that they’re sealed. If they don’t pop, they aren’t sealed and you’ll just have to eat them right away. Oh well, it’s not all bad when they don’t seal. Aren’t they pretty? All ready for the cupboard. Next winter when we need a bite of sunshine, I’ll take them out and we’ll have delicious peaches! Nothing better.