I'm really sorry about the title of this post but I just couldn't help it. So I think I had one of those brain glitches at the farmers market on Wednesday and bought enough peaches and strawberries to feed, well, a lot of people. Seriously, Jon got home that evening and was like, "ok, what's up with the fruit stand in the kitchen?". I of course replied, "I'm preserving!", and Jon said, "for the neighborhood?". ha ha, hurm....
So I looked at my calendar, suffered a mild stroke or panic attack or maybe both and realized I hadn't quite planned WHEN this adventure in canning would commence. Luckily, today was virtually free with the exception of having Chloe at home with me. Just FYI, playdough is no small miracle. I owed my life to playdough today.
First thing this morning I checked my supplies,
jars - check!
peaches - check!
Okay, commence peach preserving. Why peaches you ask? I just love them and I've always had a phobia of the stuff you find at the supermarket all perfect and plasticky. They also seemed like the gateway drug for the rest of the stuff you can preserve. I've tried my hand at strawberry jam before and that seemed easy enough, but preserving fruit slices?! scary! All the blanching, peeling, slicing etc just intimidated the crap out of me.
So, all in all it was a little scary, messy, time consuming, but still a lot fun and whoa am I proud of my little jars of sunshine. I just couldn't believe the amount of pots and bowls that went into the whole production.
So here's the rundown:
Time - 6 hours
- First you have to wash the jars
- checking for cracks or chips in jars
- wash the peaches
- sterilizing the jars in either dishwasher (if yours isn't full like mine was) or in canning pot
- wait for batch #1 of jars to finish.....
- put lids in a pot of hot water to prepare seal & keep warm until processing
- prepare syrup - two quarts of water/4 cups of sugar
- boil pot of water to blanch peaches
- fill two large bowls full of ice and water
- fill one bowl with 1 quart of water and 4 tsp of food fresh (color preserver) (don't worry, it's just citric acid and you could use lemon juice instead if you prefer)
- batch by batch, blanch peaches for 60 seconds, remove and the shock them in the cold water
- leave in water for a few minutes
- peal & slice peaches and transfer to the bowl of color preserver
- take hot jars out of canner and fill with peaches
- cover with syrup to one inch below the top of jar
- slide knife or rubber spatula down the sides or jar to release any air bubbles trapped inside.
- wipe down tops of jars with cloth to lean any residue
- take hot lids out with magnetic lid lifter and place on jars
- screw the lids tight and place on rack
- lower rack into canner and make sure jars are fully covered with water
- cover & bring to a boil
- process once boiling for 30 minutes (quart jars) 20 minutes (pints)
- remove canner lid and wait 5 min.
- remove jars carefully with jar lifter without tilting or bumping jars and place on towel to cool
- leave them to seal - you'll hear the lids ping as they cool which means they've sealed (if they didn't seal, reprocess or refrigerate for immediate use.
- do not touch or bump them for 24 hours
- take a nap if at all possible
See, fun right?!
I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment let me tell you. Tomorrow, strawberry vanilla jam because as you already know, I'm crazy.