Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Canning Peaches in a Makeshift Canner Without Sugar


I absolutely LOVE peaches. We are blessed to live within 30 minutes of three you-pick peach orchards and have made several trips to each of them over the past six weeks.

While enjoying a fresh-picked, free-stone peach in mid-July, I started thinking how wonderful it would be if peach season lasted all year. "I ought to can some of these delicious peaches so we can pull them out in the dead of winter and be reminded of summertime," I thought.

Canning was a new experience for me, so I did lots of research and talked with other ladies. After some trial and error, I came up with a wonderful recipe that uses honey instead of sugar. Hope you enjoy this tutorial. Don't have a canner? No problem at all. I used a large pot. 

Peaches should be well-ripened but not rotten or overly ripe. If your peaches are still firm, place them in large paper bags (only one layer per bag) and fold closed.

*Photos 1 and 3 were taken by my talented sister-in-law Mae. Due to technical difficulties, I lost a few of my pictures. If you need clarification, please feel free to ask. :)

How to Can Peaches in a Makeshift Canner
(Without Sugar)

Step 1: Put a large pot of water on the stove to simmer. This will be your water bath for canning, so make sure the pot is large enough to allow the cans to be completely immersed, with 2 inches of water above the lids.

Add as many jars, lids, and rims as will fit in the pot at one time (with jars standing up). I added four. In order to fully sanitize, make sure the water is simmering for at least 15 minutes.

Here is a note from the Ball/Kerr website on sanitizing your canning lids: "Our Quality Assurance Team performed comprehensive testing to determine the need for pre-heating lids. Ultimately, we determined that it’s completely safe to skip pre-warming lids in the canning process. While it’s still safe to simmer your lids before use, you should never boil them. Our recommendation for over 40 years has always been to simmer (180°F) - not boil (212°F) - the lids."


Step 2: Load your peaches into the sink, and rinse.


Step 3: Fill a medium-sized pot with water, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium, add several peaches, and cook for 1 minute. If the water begins to boil, turn the heat down. Meanwhile, prepare a medium-sized bowl of ice water.


Step 4: After peaches have been in the hot water for 1 minute, transfer peaches to ice water for 1 minute and 30 seconds.


Step 5: Remove peaches from ice water, and gently remove skin with your hands. If your peaches are well-ripened, the skin should come off easily. If it doesn't, let peaches soak in the hot water bath for another 30 seconds and then in the ice water for another minute.


Step 6: Remove pits, and slice each peach into 5-6 slices. I also removed the red areas around the stone. In a medium-sized bowl with a spout, mix 2 cups of hot (not boiling) water,  4 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 1/8 cup of honey.

Remove sanitized jars, lids, and rims from water bath using Ball Jar Lifter canning tongs ($3.00 in the Walmart canning aisle). Place on a clean towel.

Fill each jar with peaches. (Only fill to the bottom of the threads.) Pour water-lemon-honey mixture into each jar, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Take a spoon and press down on peaches to release any air pockets. Add more liquid if necessary.

Wipe rims of jars with a clean cloth, and place lids on each. Screw rims on firmly (not too tight). Now it's time to process your peaches. Using your tongs, place jars in your makeshift water bath. (Jars should not touch each other.) The water level should be 2 inches above the lids.

Bring water to a boil, and boil 25 minutes (pint jars) or 30 minutes (quart jars). If you live at an altitude of 1,000 feet or greater, you will need to add to the processing time. Click here to see the Ball/Kerr altitude chat.

Use tongs to remove jars, and place undisturbed on a towel for 24 hours. (Make sure jars don't touch each other.)

Lids should seal within 30 minutes. To check if they have sealed, press down on each lid. If they don't bounce back, they are sealed properly. Jars that don't seal within 24 hours should be refrigerated and eaten within 7 days.

What are your thoughts on canning? I'm curious to know what types of fruits/veggies people in different regions of the U.S./world have canned.

26 comments:

  1. Anonymous8/16/2016

    Been canning on & off for about 50 years. I always refresh my memory before each session by reading some university's canning safety website (there are different ones, all good). Rules do change over the decades as this science evolves. And the pH of crops changes, meaning that you may have to acidify your tomatoes now and not count on all tomatoes to be safe for water-bath processing. Research the type of tomatoes you're dealing with and if they need acid added.

    I've done tomatoes, peaches, pickles, jams, butters (another now controversial product), green beans, and I know I'm forgetting something. Not my favorite activity. Hot work, and Del Monte can do it faster and neater and probably safer than I can. But I still do it when I have the gumption & a source for abundant and affordable fresh produce.

    BTW, I noticed your peaches are floating, a common happening. Several reasons why, from the way they were packed, to the syrup you used, to how long they were cooked if you would have hot-packed, to the fact that you raw-packed. You can look it up, if you want to avoid it next time. It's not usually a safety issues, just an appearance issue.

    It might be worth it for you to invest in a canner with a rack. They aren't that expensive, and the good ones last a lifetime, if you wash & dry them well between uses, and store them where they won't rust. Large glass (non-reactive) bowls and enameled pans are another good thing to have on hand for canning. The Ball Blue Book (usually available at Wal-Mart) is a great source of info, but make sure you keep your copy up-to-date. Don't pick up a 1940's copy at a yard sale and think it's the latest info.

    Be careful if you're canning on a glass-top stove. Check the stove booklet or call the manufacturer for assistance. You can break the glass cooktop if the canner is too large for the burner area and hangs over too far. I always insisted on getting an electric stove with old-fashioned coils, because of canning.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tips! I always appreciate advice from those who are more experienced. I looked up the floating issue, and it sounds like it is caused by either raw packing or the fact that I didn't use sugar. Since there are plenty of expert canners who do raw packing and use honey instead of sugar, it sounds like my peaches are going to be okay. :)

      Thankfully, we have an electric stove with coils. While doing research, I read about the potential hazard with glass cooktops. Glad I don't have to deal with that. LOL

      Thanks for being a loyal reader.
      Ellie

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  2. Anonymous8/16/2016

    I don't think I'd like to take time to do this but  its nice to know a young lady your age enjoys canning!

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  3. Having worked at a grocery store, a dropped glass jar of peaches is no fun. But it looks great and hope it tastes wonderful in the winter.

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    1. That would be quite disastrous. I'm keeping my peaches on a high sturdy shelf, so I'm hoping none of my jars will break. :)

      Ellie

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  4. I'm glad to see you canning, but here are a couple of notes:
    Manufacturer's of the canning lids do not recommend boiling the lids now. It may affect the seal if the lids are pre-heated.
    Be careful when using honey, as it carries botulism. I don't know of any home canners that use honey in a water bath canner. A pressure cooker is the safe choice for this, as it reaches higher temps under pressure.
    How long you water bath process your fruit depends on your altitude.
    There are charts available online. Also, you can check with a local university extension for canning tips pertinent to your area.
    Keep on canning! ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tips and the encouragement, Anita! I looked up all the things you mentioned. (I meant to add a link to an altitude chart, so thanks for reminding me.)

      Before embarking on my canning journey, I found a bunch of peach tutorials online that use honey with water bath canners. It sounds like adding lemon juice (acidic) also helps with this.

      I'm glad you mentioned about the lids. My tutorial says simmer, but I made sure to go back and add the note that I found on the Ball/Kerr website, just to make sure people don't boil the lids.

      Thanks again. :)
      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous8/16/2016

    My family lives in southern CA, and for three generations have been canning many, many quarts of tomatoes and apples every summer! :-)

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    Replies
    1. My in-laws do canned tomatoes. They're great for chili and other recipes. Do you grow the tomatoes and apples or buy them from a local farmer?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous8/17/2016

      All organically home-grown on Grandpa's little farm!!!

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  6. Anonymous8/16/2016

    We pickled over 100 lbs of cucumbers this year at our summer house! We give the pickles (we make them spicy) out to friends and fam over the course of the year. Sometimes we do pickled beets. HECK YEAH!

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    Replies
    1. Wow! That sounds like a big job. Do you give them out as holiday gifts too?

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous8/17/2016

    In the Netherlands, we usually can stewing pears (at least, where I live), using their own liquid (which already contains LOTS of sugar). They are delicious with yoghurt (the sour one, not the sweet) or just as a snack.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds tasty! What's the difference between stewing pears and regular pears?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous8/17/2016

      You can eat regular pears without cooking them, they are soft and delicious already. Stewing pears need to be cooked a long time (at least 3 hours) before the fruit becomes soft. Also, the inside of a regular pear is white-ish, while the inside of a (cooked) stewing pear is red, almost purple. I believe they are very Dutch though, so you probably can't get them in the US.

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  8. We have canned peaches with honey before, but then we found out they are just as good without any sweetener! You want to make sure they are nice and ripe, but our canned peaches are delicious. I just love fruit, especially peaches :)

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    1. That's good to know. Do you add lemon juice to keep them from turning brown?

      Ellie

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    2. Nope! Just water.

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    3. That's awesome! I'll have to try that next year.

      Ellie

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  9. Ooooh I've been wanting to try canning. When I was a little girl my parents did loads if canning, from fruit picked from our trees. And also at the end of the season, local farmers would sell boxes of fruit really cheap and dad would buy them. The while family got involved cutting up fruit and layering them in the jars. We used to mostly can apricots, peaches and pears. And yes, it is so nice to pull out a jar in the middle of winter :)

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    Replies
    1. That's a wonderful memory! I would love to try canning other fruits.

      Ellie

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  10. Anonymous8/19/2016

    Excellent information thank-you.

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  11. Anonymous8/19/2016

    That is a lot of work! You are a good worker Ellie!

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  12. Anonymous8/23/2016

    The title is a little bit misleading! Though honey is is healthier than processed sucrose (table sugar) in many aspects, it is still sugar, so this recipe would not be appropriate for someone who needs to limit sugar intake.

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  13. Anonymous9/27/2016

    Sounds,great!!

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