Friday, 29 August 2014

Preserving Peaches

Beautiful ripe peaches that fill the air with their delicious fragrance are piled high in 20 lb boxes at my local market. It's time to buckle down and learn to preserve some of those delicious things I grew up on. 

I recall my mother telling me that she used to can 100 lbs of peaches, and similar amounts of raspberries and cherries. We had a huge cool room in our basement and one entire wall was filled with jars of fruit & vegetables. I don't think I'm quite that determined, our meals are seldom followed by dessert (as was the tradition in my family), and my access to fresh fruit is significantly more than we had when I was younger, so I'm not so concerned about stocking up. Simply, I've decided to can peaches because I love the flavour of home-canned fruit and it is a very good skill to learn. So, taking the plunge, I bought 40 lbs and set about learning something new. 

I am not a complete stranger to canning, I spent most of my summers helping my mom peel, cut, stuff and boil various things and I've been making my own jam for a few years, but this is my first experience canning fruit on my own. 

I learned a few things about getting the skin off the peaches and by the time I was done I had the timing down just perfect...60 seconds in the boiling water and a dip in ice water and those skins peeled right off.

I managed to make a huge mess cutting up the peaches to put in jars, but in the end, I got 12 jars of beautiful peaches in a medium-light syrup, preserving that just-picked flavour for the cool rainy months when I can't find peaches in the store. I froze the rest of those 40 lbs as sliced peaches for smoothies and pies. The freezer is getting really full too!

One jar didn't seal, so we were able to have a taste of home-made canned peaches without waiting for the rainy season to start!

Well, there you have it, my first fruit canning experience done, I'd say it's a success...only one jar didn't seal! Now it's on to tomatoes...


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