Peaches are the fruit I look most forward to in the summertime! Well, I guess I have to add in strawberries, cherries and nectarines as well.
California’s Central Valley has some of the best summer fruit in the nation! I beg to differ that our peaches might even be better than Georgia’s but I’ve never been there so I better watch what I say!
There is one thing I know, you can.not. buy peaches from the store! No questions asked, if you do and you’re happy with them you don’t what you are missing out on. If I can’t buy them fresh and local there is no way I am even eating them. I tried that once, big mistake.
Peaches are the perfect summer fruit, sadly their growing season is short. There are five options:
- You enjoy them in the summer and that is the end of them
- You freeze
- You dry them
- You make fruit leather
- You can them
As much as I love and promote eating with the seasons sometimes it is nice to have a bit of peach sometime later on in the year.
I have very limited freezer space so I only freeze a few gallon size bags of peaches each year. The past few years I have either dried, made fruit leather or canned peaches. My prefered form of preservation is canning.
Canned peaches are the perfect after dinner dessert or topping for oatmeal. Most store-bought canned peaches are canned in high-frutose corn syrup. Then there is the BPA concern so I haven’t bought peaches from the store in years. When I was little we did get to eat some that were canned in a light syrup ever so often. I like to make a simple honey syrup for my peaches. Sometimes I’ve run out and just canned them in water and not noticed the difference.
Organic peaches are always preferred but can be a bit pricey. I tend to haunt the farmer’s market and buy peaches from the “sceconds” bin. Seconds are fruit that are bruised or otherwise blemished making them not able to be sold full price. I’ve found that many time there are only slight bruising or spot so I always buy them. I end up only paying 1/4 of the price! It makes the farmer happy to be rid of it while at least getting a bit of money and it makes me happy too since I’m saving lots of money.
- Peel your peaches. You can peel them with a paring knife which is what I normally do since I am using bruised fruit. You could also freeze them whole for about an hour and them rub the skin off under running water. Lastly you could put them in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then place them in a bowl of ice water for another 30 seconds. Pick the peach up and the skin will come right of.
- Cut your peaches. You can cut them in half or slice them to your desired thickness. Place them in a bowl.
- Fill each jar with your cut peaches. Pour the lemon juice over the peaches. Use 1 teaspoon for each pint jar and 2 teaspoons for each quart jar.
- Bring the lids/seals to a gentle simmer.
- Bring the honey and water to a simmer to make a "syrup". Once the honey is dissolved turn off the heat.
- Pour the hot syrup into each jar, just filling to where the threads of the jar start.
- Wipe the rim and place the seal and lid on the jar. Twist on the ring, being sure not to make it too tight.
- Place the jars in a water bath canner or pressure canner without the lid.
- Cover the jars with water and bring to a boil for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the pot with a jar clamp and place on a counter or table covered with a dish towel.
- Allow to fully cool and seal before storing away.
- If you have never heard a jar seal before, it is music to the ears!
Have you tried canning before? What is your favorite thing to can?
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday, Wildcrafting Wednesday,