Well, I decided to be very "home-makey" and can peaches a couple weeks ago. What started as an ambitious project quickly turned into a messy, frustrating battle against the clock and against my patience. I think I tried doing too much at one time: blanching the peaches, getting the jars ready, making a cobbler, making peach/raspberry jam. Yeah...definitely too much. But here is a little tutorial for you non-canners :)
Ah, look at these BEAUTIFUL peaches. You want your peaches to be RIPE when you can them. Not pre-ripe. You want them RIPE, like...eat them plain ripe. Yum.
You put the peaches in boiling water for 30-45 seconds then quickly submerge them in cold water. This will cause the skin to pull away from the flesh, making them VERY easy to peel. Use free-stone peaches, too. This makes the whole process much easier. Above are some peeled peaches waiting for slicing.
While you are blanching the peaches, get your jars ready. You want them washed and clean first. Then add about 1/3 cup of sugar plus two teaspoons of Fruit Fresh stuff. Pour 3/4 cup of boiling water into each jar and stir till all the sugar and Fruit Fresh stuff is dissolved. Now your jars are ready.
In the meantime, have your lids in hot/boiling water so they are ready for sealing.
Fill your jars with peaches...like jam packed almost. Leave about an inch of space at the top. Fill with hot water until almost to the lip....about half an inch of space. Now wipe the edge of each jar with a wet/clean cloth so there are NO little pieces or juice along the edge. Put a lid on and screw the ring on...not very tight, just a little tight.
Next, place all the jars on the canning rack (mine fits seven at a time) then fill with hot water until the jars are all covered by about an inch of water. Put the lid on and wait for about TWENTY YEARS for the freaking water to boil. In case you can't tell, this was the most frustrating part for me. It took FOREVER. After all forty gallons of water are boiling, NOW you have to wait ANOTHER forty minutes. Ugh. Then....
Remove the jars and place on the counter and DO NOT move for at least 24 hours. This allows them to breath and seal. You'll hear little "plinks" as the jars seal!
Then when its all said and done....you can eat your peaches months later. I, however, will not be eating these peaches until there are no more peaches in the world left to eat. It was SUCH a process....oh man. Ella told me the other day she wanted some peaches and I told her "no" and that we would go buy some from the store! Ha! I think I'm missing the point?? :)
I am excited for in a few months, though, when we actually eat our peaches. They will be super yummy and then I will be happy for all the stress and cleaning this involved :) Oh, and my jam didn't set...and my cobbler went uneaten...sad day.
Hopefully next year will go smoother...now that I actually know what I'm doing! Thank you, Cheri, for the many phone call questions you answered! Haha! :D