Today, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, there is a rooster crowing through the windows of my bedroom. That’s not what woke me from my nap (that would be Brynne). Gregor does not enjoy rooster, but I rather like him. He makes me feel all country. And the rooster seems to set the scene for my newest domestic experience: Canning peaches.
I loooove canned peaches but have never attempted to can them myself because that’s a wee bit scary and way over my head domestically. My friend, Kate, cans peaches and if I’m extra nice she gives me a few jars a year and my life is filled with song.
She kept telling me that it wasn’t hard. Kate is the one that taught me how to can applesauce. It is now something I must do every single October. But I remained doubtful regarding peaches as Kate is the domestic goddess. What is easy for her is a chicken enchilada disaster for me. I could be very successful, I’m sure, if I only followed her around and took pictures of the things she can create in her kitchen.
I can be barefoot and I can be pregnant, even at the same time, but canning peaches…mmmm…too much work. And I heard it was sticky. Like all over your kitchen sticky. Instantly unappealing. I have enough trouble keeping the kitchen clean.
Well, the other day Kate gave me a call. I wanted peaches, right? Help was on the way! A 48lb box for $20, was delivered to my doorstep and the rarely accessed domestic goddess button began buzzing away in my brain. The manuscript was set aside. Oh my…have you ever smelled a giant box of peaches? The aroma alone can spin you right into an apron with your hair in a messy bun, and water boiling on the stove.
Mmmm…doesn’t the sight make you just feel domestic? Like, what in the world do you do with all those peaches? But you’ve already got Step 1 done: Get your peaches.
Step 2: Wash jars and lids. I had jars from moving my mother’s across the country many years ago but you can buy them many places including the grocery store and Wal-mart. My tip: Buy the WIDE MOUTH jars. Much easier to work with.
Step 3: In a big pot, boil water. This I can do!
Step 3: Prepare Sugar Solution. Peaches are packed in a sugar and water solution. Sugar helps improve flavor, stabilize color, and retain fruit shape. Thank you, Google. I wanted less sugar so my syrup was this: 2 Cups Sugar, 6 Cups Water. Bring to boil. Turn down to low and keep hot.
Step 4: Wash Peaches.
So far, so good. I was comforted by the thought that if worse came to worse, and I ruined these beauties, we could just throw them into Gregor’s morning Vitamix concoction.
Step 5: Throw peaches in boiling water for 20-45 seconds.
Step 6: With a slotted spoon, remove peaches and put them in an ice and water bath. Why? The skins just roll right off. Lovely. The website told me to save the peelings for peach honey. Um, no. They were gladly composted.
Step 7: After skin is rolled off (the most time-consuming part of whole project), cut peaches into halves or quarters. To keep the fruit from browning you can sprinkle with lemon juice or Fruit Fresh. Or, you don’t have to, it’s purely for aesthetics.
Step 8: It’s time to Hot Pack! Hot packing is safer than cold packing, so I chose this route. Just put your cut peaches into the sugar solution from Step 3 for a little less than 5 minutes.
Step 9: Fill jars! Pack them in nice and tight. I couldn’t believe I’d come so far. Trying to avoid mushy peaches, I moved quickly. After the first batch of jars were filled, Step 10: Fill your big ol’ canning pot with water to boil. I included the link because it does help to have the funnel and the tongs. I have the tongs, not the funnel.
Here we have my mother’s mason dome lids bought in the 70’s. The outside smelled like mildew, the inside lids were as pristine as can be.
Step 11: Water Bath. Right before putting on lids, sprinkle a little Fresh Fruit on top if you like. Then, put on lids and put jars in boiling water bath for at least 20 minutes. No more than 30. You’ll know they are done if you press on the jar and it doesn’t “pop” back at you.
Step 12: Enjoy the fruit of your labor…for real. 17 jars, 3 hours, many smiles and unbelieving gasps.
Yes, you too can be a domestic goddess a few times a year. This definitely counts, don’t you think?
What’s the last new thing you tried? I would love to hear.
Oh, and the kitchen was sticky, but that’s what slaves children are for. They were gladly bribed with peaches.