First off I have to apologize for this tutorial. It is a NON PICTURE tutorial. For those of you who have ever canned peaches before you know how sticky and messy it is. For those of you who will soon can for the first time, you will see why there are no pictures in this tutorial. So let's get started.
Before you Begin
The best way to can peaches is with a friend. Trust me it makes the process alot quicker and enjoyable. JBody and I had about 100-125lbs of peaches to can this year. There is no way I could have done it without him.
1. Start by putting your jars and rings into a dishwasher on the sterilize setting. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can easily place your jars in your boiling water canner and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. I like to leave them in the dishwasher on heat dry until I am ready to use them. You can also place them in the oven at 250 to keep them hot. Keeping your jars hot will prevent them from cracking when you add hot fruits and liquid into the jars.
2. Place the lids in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer, but don’t boil. You only need to do this for about 5 minutes.
3. Wash your peaches by rinsing in a colander. Use lukewarm water and be carefull not to bruise.
4. Place the peaches into a pot of boiling water and blanch for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. After blanching, place them into a ice water bath to keep them from cooking.
6. Then the skins should slip right off. You won't even need to use a knife. If they don’t slip off, you may need to put them back in the boiling water for 30 more seconds. If they still don’t slip, your peaches might not be ripe. Put a ripe banana in the box and check them the next day. The banana usually does the trick and the peaches ripen right up.
7. Cut your peaches. We like cutting the peach into eight pieces. You get more in a jar and it makes it easier for little ones to eat. You can cut them in half, quarters, eights. If you are working with regular mouth jars you will want to at least quarter your peaches.
8. This step you can choose to omit. If you want to keep your fruit from turning brown you can use fruit fresh or lemon juice. I did some with and then the second day I chose to skip that part.
9. Pack your jars. We cold or raw pack. This means the fruit goes in cold or raw. If you want to hot pack, don't put into your jars quite yet. When placing your peaches in jars, try to put them in pit side down. This will allow you to get as much fruit into your jar as possible. Pack tightly without squishing your fruit. You will want to leave 1/2 inch headspace.
10. Prepare you syrup. We like light syrup. Kids get lots of sugar already and we don't think we need to pack alot of sugar into our fruit. For our syrup we use 5 1/2 cups water to 2 1/2 cups sugar. Put the sugar and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling you add the hot liquid to your jars. *** Here is where you will start your hot pack if you choose to hot pack. You will want to boil your peaches in your syrup for 5-7 mins and then place the fruit and liquid into jars.
11. If cold packing add your liquid to your fruit jars. Fill to 1/2 headspace and then run a butter knife to get any air bubbles. This will let the bubble escape and the fruit settle a bit. You will probably need to add more liquid. Make sure you cover all your peaches.
12. Wipe the rim of your jars to make sure there are no juices or fruit on them. Put your lids and bands on your jars. Do not over tighten your bands. Just finger tight them. What does that mean? Only use your fingers to tighten them. When you involved your wrist the go on way to tight. You want to allow air to be released.
13. Place your jars into your hot water bath. You water should be hot and at or close to a boil. Make sure to place your jars in one by one and opposite sides of the canner rack. This will minimize tipping. A canner rack can hold 7 pint or quart sized jars. Once all jars are in submerge them into the water. When water comes to a boil start your time. We process our jars because we are at a low altitude. You may have to alter your processing time depending on altitude.
14. After processing time is up, remove your jars. Place them on the counter and try not to move them for 12-24 hours. During cool down you may hear a popping sound. This is good. It means that your jars are sealing. After 24 hours, jars that still pop when the lid is touched mean they were not sealed. Just place in the refrigerate and eat!
There you have it. It really is not all that bad. It does make a giant mess. JBody and I actually canned outside on our camping stoves. All the mess was kept outside and we had lots of room to move around.