I just love canning! There is something so wonderful about seeing jars of fruits, jams, jellies and broth lining my shelf and it gives me such a sense of accomplishment! So much of my daily work is undone so quickly: laundry, cleaning and cooking meals that it can get discouraging but with canning a couple hours of work can be seen for months!
Fall is a time to preserve the harvest (even if its not from your own land), stock the freezer with good meat and the woodshed with lots of wood for winter. The temperatures are starting to cool off which makes it so much nicer for canning (or chopping wood).
I am so blessed that every year in September a family brings a trailer of fruit from their orchard in Washington. I get to buy directly from the farmer so the prices are amazing! This year I bought 160 pounds of different kinds of apples and 40 pounds of peaches for a grand total of $202! (And that includes some Honeycrisp apples that are more expensive.) We also have apple trees on our property that produce some fruit.
Now my family can eat fruit pretty quickly but I try to get as much put up as I can. Peaches are so easy to can. I put up 14 quarts of peach slices in about 3 hours with help from my Grandma and my 2 and 4 year olds. Having a few extra hands is so nice when canning but you can do it by yourself it will just take longer.
I start by heating my big canning pot full of water. I put the jars in to heat and sanitize while I prepare the fruit. Then I put a big pot of water on to boil for blanching the peaches. Next I mix up some simple syrup and get it heating to dissolve the sugar. I like a light to medium syrup so I mix 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. (Can you see why its best to do this on a cool day?) Finally, I fill up one side of the sink with ice cold water.
Now I am ready to start the peaches! I put several whole peaches in the boiling pot of water and let them blanch for 2-3 minutes. Then a quick dunk in the ice cold water makes it so the skins peel right off. It is so easy that my 4 year old son did this job this time. Continue until all the peaches are peeled.
We had another station set up at the table. It has a bowl for the pits, a bowl filled with Vitamin C powder sprinkled in water (to prevent browning), a knife, a cutting board and a towel. The people at the table cut the peaches into slices and place them in the bowl of Vitamin C water.
Next I remove the jars from the hot water and place another set in. I fill the hot jars with as many peach slices as I can fit (they will shrink down). Then I pour the syrup to cover the peaches making sure to leave at least a half inch gap. I then take a knife and run it around the edges so that any trapped air bubbles can be released. After I am done with that I use a damp washcloth to wipe off the rim of the jars to make sure nothing interferes with the lid sealing. I place the lids on the jars and then tighten the rings.
Quarts of peaches take 20 minutes to process in the boiling water. Make sure water covers the tops of the lids. After the time is up I remove the jars of peaches to a towel on a counter (in a spot they won’t get bumped). And then the most beautiful sound comes of the jars sealing, “Pop!”
I always check the lids later on to make sure they are tight. If any don’t seal I either process them again with a new lid or stick them in the refrigerator to eat in the next couple of days.
I hope you found this explanation helpful! Do you like to can? What are your favorites?
Next time…. Apples!