Sunday, July 31, 2011

Canned Peaches

It's that time of year when our Scarlet Robe peach tree is ready for harvest. The peaches this year are on the small side, but there are many, many of them. Gil wanted to can some of them this time around rather than make peach jam. The following is an adaptation from a recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation:

5-6 lbs. peaches
2 qts. apple juice
6 one-pint mason jars
Ball's Fruit Fresh Produce Protector (Ascorbic Acid)

1. Fill extra large stock pot (or pressure canner pot) with water and bring to a boil. Wash mason jars, bands and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse well and set aside. When water in the stock pot is boiling, add mason jars and simmer  over medium to medium high heat, maintaining water temperature at 180F.

2. Fill a small pan with water and bring to a simmer at 180F. Add lids and bands for the mason jars. Remove the bands to dry after 5 minutes. Keep the lids in the simmering water (on medium low) until ready to use. Do not boil. 

3. Bring another large pot of water to boil. Blanch peaches in hot water for about 60 seconds or until skins start to loosen. Remove to an ice water bath for 20-30 seconds, drain & set aside. Process peaches in batches if needed.  

4. In the meantime, in a large bowl, dissolve 5 tbsp. of Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid) into 5 cups of water. You can find this in the same section where all the canning goods are in most supermarkets. Remove skin & pits from peaches, cut each into halves or quarters and place into ascorbic acid solution. This will keep the peaches from turning brown.

5. Bring apple juice to a boil in a large pan. Drain peaches from the ascorbic acid solution and add to the hot apple juice; bring back up to a boil, then turn off heat. 

6. Remove jars from the simmering water and place right side up on a towel. Pour in peaches and fill with nectar, leaving 1/2" headroom from the top. Remove any air bubbles. Top each jar with a lid and close tight with bands. Place jars back into simmering 180F water & process 25 minutes. Remove canned peaches to a towel and let cool to room temperature. 

7. Don't throw away any leftover nectar, by the way. Strain it and it keep in a glass container in the frig. Tastes great on the rocks or with a splash of brandy (maybe even with some champagne, like a peach-apple mimosa). Sante!

Wash jars, lids and bands with hot, soapy water; rinse well & let dry.

In a large bowl, add 5 tbsp. Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid) to 5 cups water.

Stir until dissolved. Set aside.

Blanch peaches (in batches) in boiling water for about 60 seconds or until skins start to loosen.

Place peaches in an ice water bath for about 20-30 seconds, then remove to a chopping board.

Peel off skin, remove pit, and cut into quarters. 

Soak quartered peaches in the ascorbic acid solution. This will keep them from turning brown.

BrDrain peaches from the ascorbic acid solution, add to a large pan, and cover with about 3 qts. of apple juice.

Pour apple juice into a large pan & bring to a boil. Add drained peaches and bring back up to a boil; turn off heat & set aside. 

Ladle peaches into the hot jars then top with syrup. Leave 1/2" of headroom.

Remove lids from the hot water bath and place on top of jars.

Screw bands over the lids securely, but not too tightly.

Place canned peaches back into water bath & simmer at 180F for 25 minutes.

Remove canned peaches to a kitchen towel and let cool.

Here they are...After they've cooled to room temperature, I keep these in the frig because I'm always paranoid about stuff going bad, even though the sterilization and overall canning process are supposed to take care of that. 

And, don't toss out any of the leftover nectar from cooking the peaches in the apple juice. Once you've canned everything, strain the remaining nectar into a pitcher or glass container, let cool and refrigerate. Makes for a refreshing peach-flavored apple juice drink. Has a lot of cocktail potential...

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