Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's a Recession! Canned Peaches

Peaches come in a can.

Eat Rating: Delicious. Very light syrup.
Difficulty: Easy to Medium. You will need one very large pot, big enough for the jars to stand straight up submerged in water.

Makes about 6 quarts.

Adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Canning

1 peck (about 11 to 12 lbs) freestone peaches, any variety
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice

Take the large pot and arrange some extra rings along the bottom. Fill the big pot with water about halfway full and begin to heat. Get out two large bowls. Fill one bowl with ice water and the other with lemon juice.

Place the jars on a cookie sheet and place in a cold oven. Heat the oven up to 250 degrees, then turn off, leaving the jars inside.

Once the water is boiling, dunk the peaches one by one in the hot water for about 30 seconds, then place in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Once all the peaches have been dunked, pour some of the hot water into a small saucepan and place the tops and rings into it to sterilize. Set on a back burner on low. Keep the rest of the water in the large pot hot. You will need it later.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and 5 1/2 cups of water, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer.

Once the peaches have been dunked, the skins should slide off easily. (Keep the skins to make peach honey or discard.) Place the de-skinned peaches in the bowl with lemon juice, making sure to get some juice on all sides to prevent browning.

Remove a jar from the oven using a clean kitchen towel.

With a paring knife, cut the peaches in half all the way around, then twist off the pit. Remove the pit and discard. Make sure to dunk the inside of the peach in the lemon juice to prevent browning. Place the peach halves (or quarters if you'd prefer) in the hot jar. Fill it up until there is only about a 1/2 inch below the top. Slowly pour some of the water-sugar liquid into the jar until it completely covers the peaches and reaches about 1/4 inch below the lip. Wipe down the lip of the jar. Remove a lid and ring from the water and place the lid on the lip of the jar. Twist the ring until finger-tight. Using the jar lifter, carefully place the filled jar into the largest pot of water on top of the rings, being careful that it does not touch the sides of the pot.

Fill the remaining jars. You might run out of syrup before you run out of peaches. If that happens, just make another batch -- 5 1/2 cups water to 1 1/4 cup sugar.

Once all the jars are filled and in the large pot, add more water so that the jars are completely submerged. Heat until the water reaches a boil, then cook the canned peaches for 30 minutes.

Remove from the pot and allow the jars to come to room temperature. As they cool, you should hear the popping noise as the jars pressurize. Once the jars are room temperature, check that they have all sealed properly. If any have not, reboil for another 30 minutes.

The canned peaches will keep unopened for up to a year. Once opened, eat within a week. The peaches can also be drained and used in any recipes substituted for fresh peaches.

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