exploring, preserving: past, present

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A Recipe for Summer #Happiness…Into the Winter

Okay, I said I would move away from preserving fruits and veggies and into crafting (crochet, beeswax candles, soapmaking, etc). But I just had to share one more recipe with you all–canned peaches.

Peaches in hot water bath, briefly, preparing for peeling.

Other than canned pears, there’s nothing that says summertime bliss more than jarred halved peach preserves. They are glorious in their sunny colour, their fresh and firm texture, nestled in their lightly sugared syrupy goodness.

Peaches are skinned, halved, and waiting in water with a touch of lemon juice to prevent browning.

These preserves are definitely ones that take some effort (with skinning the peaches in particular), but they are well worth it to see their plump goodness in jars. If you plan on using quart jars (I did), count on fitting eight or nine halves into one jar.

Peaches waiting for their water bath–the final step in processing.

Here’s the recipe I used. The simple syrup can be adjusted for sugar content–I made a “light syrup” but you can certainly reduce the amount of sugar even more, or have none if you prefer! You also don’t need to use the lemon juice–it’s mostly there to prevent browning while waiting for processing. Enjoy!

Peach Preserves (makes 5 quarts)

20 firm, ripe peaches

1 cup sugar

4 cups distilled water

1/2 cup lemon juice

Sterilize 5 quart jars and lids. Keep them warm in preparation for processing.

With a sharp knife, cut an “x” into the bottom of each peach. Avoid cutting the flesh of the peach–the “x” will help in the peeling process after blanching. Prepare a pot of boiling water, placing peaches into the boiling water for approximately 30-45 seconds (no more!). Immediately pull out the peaches, place under cold running water (or in an ice bath).  Peel off the skins, using the “x” marks to help start the peeling process. Cut peaches in half, and pull out the pits (they should pop out easily if the peaches are ripe!). Toss cut, halved peaches in 1/2 cup lemon juice (to prevent browning); set aside.

To prepare your light syrup, mix 1 cup sugar with 4 cups distilled water. Bring water to boil, ensuring the sugar dissolves. Drop halved peaches into hot syrup and bring the syrup and peach mixture to boil (but do not cook more than 5 minutes!).  Many online recipes say you should be cooking the fruit in syrup for 10-20 minutes…don’t do it! They’ll be mushy and fall apart. Cooking for 5 minutes maximum ensures the peaches will keep their firm texture.

Fill quart jars with peach halves (squeezing in as many as you can–the more you squeeze in, the better they will turn out in processing!).  Fill the jar with the light syrup. Use a rubber spatula or non-metallic utensil to release any trapped air bubbles. Wipe the top of the jars, seal finger-tight, and place into a hot water bath.

Process peaches in the hot water bath for no more than 6-7 minutes.

Let cool–enjoy all winter long!



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Lots of #canning, #preserving, and #troubleshooting today!

Tomorrow I will spend some time blogging about my chat with my mom today, and how “I am my father’s daughter” when it comes to apricots. But that’s going to have to wait, because today was a very long day of canning, preserving, blanching, and freezing.

Proof of my exploits are below:

4 quarts of dills, 7 pints of beets, 2 bags of blanched green beans, 2 bags of blanched yellow beans, 2 bags of rhubarb, 3 bags of sour cherries (only one of them pitted…so time consuming!)

The above took me all morning, all afternoon, and an hour after supper. But I didn’t stop there, oh no! Had to get some fruit preserves (not just frozen) into the mix. So for the first time ever, I raw packed apricots (halved and pitted) into light syrup.

6 pints of halved and pitted apricots, raw packed in light syrup. Not sure if they’ll seal properly, it’s my first time raw packing fruit…


While I was canning my beets, I noticed that after they came out of the canner all the jars had this cloudy film all over the glass:

Cloudy film coating the pint jars after processing

No, it’s not because they’re hot and it will disappear when it cools. No, it’s not because they’re not sterilized or cleaned. It’s either my canner starting to age and the metal reacting with the minerals in our tap water (leaving a filmy calcified deposit on the glass), or there were more minerals in the tap water today than other days.

No worries…the cloudy film easily wipes off to reveal the pretty preserves beneath!

A quick rub with a damp towel, and the processed beets are revealed!

As you must realize from the top two pictures, I have a lot to talk about–blanching, freezing, pitting fruits (is it really worth it or not?). But that, my friends, will wait for more blog posts starting tomorrow. It’s been a long and successful day of canning, and I’m tired! More blogging tomorrow after a good night’s rest!