Continuing the theme this week of peaches, last night K and I toiled over a hot stove making canned peaches. The idea is that we “put up” enough now (along with other fruits) to enjoy our labors all winter long. We probably won’t have enough to get through the whole year (day jobs make it tough to find the time to do this) but every little bit helps.
To make canned peaches, we started off the same way as with the chutney, washing, draining, and peeling the peaches. Peeling peaches are so much easier than peeling tomatoes! Just boil some water, throw in the peaches for 30-60 seconds, and dunk in a bowl of ice water to stop the “cooking.” The peel starts coming off by itself and you can easily pull off the rest.
Once that’s done, cut the peaches in half and pit. To prevent darkening, you can follow these instructions:
Several treatments may be used to prevent or retard darkening. One is to coat the fruit as it is cut with a solution of 1 teaspoon (3 g) crystalline ascorbic acid, Fruit Fresh, or 3,000 mg crushed vitamin C tablets per cup of water. Another is to drop the cut pieces in a solution of water and ascorbic acid, citric acid or lemon juice. Use 1 teaspoon (3,000 mg) ascorbic acid, 1 teaspoon citric acid or 3/4 cup lemon juice to 1 gallon water.An ascorbic acid (commercially sold as “Fruit Fresh”) and watersolution serves as a desirable anti-darkening treatment, adds nutritive value in the form of vitamin C, and does not change the flavor of the fruit as lemon juice may do. Ascorbic acid is available in crystalline or tablet form in drug stores and supermarkets. Ascorbic acid mixtures, such as ascorbic acid combined with sugar or with citric acid and sugar, also are available. For these, follow the manufacturer’s directions. In such mixtures, ascorbic acid usually is the important active ingredient. Because of its dilution with other materials, these forms may be more expensive than pure ascorbic acid.
If ascorbic acid products are not used in the pretreatment of cut fruit, they may be added to the canning juices or liquids before processing. This will help keep the fruit from darkening during storage. Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid or 750 to 1,500 mg crushed vitamin C tablets per quart of fruit. Commercial ascorbic and citric acid mixtures such as “Fruit Fresh” or “ACM” also may be used according to manufacturer’s directions.
We sprinkled some lemon juice over the peaches, but didn’t make any sort of those mixtures above. We did something similar with the apples we canned last year and they still look good.
There are two ways to can fruit, via raw pack and hot pack. With raw packing, you put uncooked fruits into the jar, then a light syrup the rest of the way. It’s a lot quicker than the hot pack, but your fruits don’t last as long because there’s more air in the jars. We decided to hot pack our peaches instead, which required heating them through in a medium syrup before placing them in the jars.
To make the medium syrup, dissolve 3 1/4 cups of sugar in 5 cups of water. This should provide 7 cups of syrup.
Cook the peaches one layer at a time in the syrup until hot and then pack the hot peaches, cavity side down into your jars. This is harder than it looks! They kept flipping the wrong way for us, but the idea is to keep as much air out as possible. Once the jars are full, ladle the syrup over the peaches, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Put on the 2 piece caps and process 20 min. for pints, 25 min. for peaches.
We canned the remainder of the peaches from the peck we bought this past weekend, ending up with 4 quarts (and a little left over for K to bring to work with him tomorrow).
Filed under: Home Preserving |