In early September, my family made a trip to Niagara (on the train!) to visit with my parents and also embark upon a first time endeavour for us: canning peaches. We had the peaches, mom had the equipment and (some of the) expertise!
It was slightly ironic since we bought the peaches in Toronto, and then brought them back to Niagara where they clearly were grown. 😉
I felt mildly unprepared for the endeavour, but my lovely husband and mother had much more determination than I, and it was their drive that got us through!
What you’ll need:
-clean canning jars and lids, roughly 12
-3 large pots, one deep enough for your specific size of canning jars.
-small circular rack for the bottom of the canning pot
-bowl for skinned, sliced peaches
-oven mit to handle jars
-4 cups sugar
-basic utensils – spoons, knives, etc.
Here are your basic steps to Canning Peaches:
1. Collect your mason jars and lids and make sure they’re sparkling clean. Turn oven on lowest setting and set as many jars as you can fit into the oven. When you next need these jars they are to be too hot to touch without an oven mit.
2. Wash peaches and remove skins. I washed the peaches and my husband dropped them into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. My mother then bathed them in an ice bath/very cold water and the skins just fell off beautifully.
3. Create your simple syrup. Now, if you know me, you know I despise working with regular white, refined sugar. Quite frankly, I believe it’s a big part of what’s wrong with our world! I don’t have it in the home and do my best to avoid it. For these peaches, we actually combined 3 different types of sugars that we had left over in our pantry: coconut sugar, organic cane sugar, and (eek) raw brown sugar. This wasn’t ideal for me – i’d rather have used honey, but we needed to use up these sugars and this seemed like a good opportunity.
*Back right pot is boiling water used to remove peach skins. Bottom left is simple syrup. Bottom right is canning pot to seal jars.
To create your simple syrup, we used a ratio of 4 cups sugar to 8 cups water and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
4. Begin to fill your large canning pot and warm the water inside. There should be a small rack on the bottom to make sure your jars don’t rest directly on the bottom of the pot. Water should not be at boiling at this point. You may need to add/subtract water to get the jars completely covered.
5. Section the peaches and remove pits and the red ‘pit lining’. This was my station. I cut open the skinned peaches and sliced them up after scooping out the red lining which apparently turns brown and makes them look less appealing once they’ve been canned and preserved. Now, i’m not one for food aesthetics – I really don’t care, just give me the tasty, whole, natural food – but I just went with the flow on this one.
*I should mention at this point that these peaches were “seconds” and did not look very nice to begin with. After I had sliced them, many left something to be desired. Again, I did not care! Just wanted to practice canning.
6. From here things get moving. You have your warmed jars, your simple syrup made and warm on the stove, your peaches skinned and cut up in a bowl, and your canning pot of warm water and a tray in the bottom ready. From here, remove a few of the warm jars from the oven and fill 1/4 of the way with simple syrup. Add your cut peaches, really packing them in there. You can top with syrup if you think necessary, making sure there are very few bubbles in the jar. From here, put your lid on loose and submerge jar into the canning pot making sure it’s completely covered. It is important the jar is hot and the water is NOT boiling in order for the jars to not shatter. We were able to do 4 jars in our pot. Bring this to boiling and let boil for 20 minutes.
It is VERY important here that I mention to you that the first two jars we submerged shattered!! So we put in a quick call to my sister’s Mother-In-Law, Canning Lady Extraordinaire, Mrs. Money. She quickly corrected our ways and we were fine. Of course not without my Dad coming up to help and mentioning botulism.
7. Remove jars from pot and place on a dry kitchen towel, making sure the jars are NOT touching. Cover them with another kitchen towel to slow the cooling process down a little. Repeat previous step until all your peaches and syrup are gone!
If you notice in the picture, there is space at the bottom of our cans. That is something we learned for next time – pack those peaches in there!