For years I was really afraid to try canning at home. I think I was scared by stories of pressure canners and the horrific results. I have chosen to go the route of a water bath in a “big ol’ canner,” as we say in East Tennessee. It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s so gratifying. Today I’m sharing the simple method I’ve been doing for the last three years with great success. As you can see in my pictures, there are lots of pots of water, so if you can boil water, you can can fruits and vegetables!
Things You’ll Need:
- Water Bath Canner (or pressure canner)
- Quart Sized Jars, Lids, and Rings
- Jar Utensil Set: containing a jar funnel, bubble remover and headspace tool, magnetic lid lifter, and jar lifter.
- Peaches (about 15lbs for 6 quart sized jars)
- Lemon Juice or Fruit Fresh
- Large and Small Pots
Before getting started, make sure you pre-wash all the jars and rings. The dishwasher works great for this. Now you can prepare the water bath canner.
Fill the water bath 2/3 full with water and place on stove top over high heat to bring to a boil.
Rings can be re-used each time you do canning, but the lids should be replaced. There is a chance they won’t seal with repeated use.
The easiest way to clean the lids is to put them in a small pot of almost boiling water for about 5 minutes.
First rinse the peaches with cold water.
Since we don’t want to peel all the peaches by hand, we are going to blanch them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the peaches in and let sit for 30-40 seconds. I set the timer on the microwave so I don’t lose track of the seconds.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches from the pot and place in a large bowl or sink filled with ice cold water.
Take peaches out one at a time, slice them in half, give it a quick turn and they will split open. The peels should slide off easily and you can remove the pits.
Slice the peaches and soak them in lemon water. I use about 1/4 cup lemon juice in about 3 cups of water. This will help keep the peaches from browning. You can also use Fruit Fresh instead of soaking the peaches. Just sprinkle it over the top of the sliced peaches.
Remove the peaches from lemon water and place in a large bowl. Now is a good time to start the syrup. You can make a light, medium or heavy syrup. For the light syrup use 6 cups of water and 2 cups sugar, for medium syrup: 6 cups water and 3 cups sugar, and for heavy syrup: 6 cups water and 4 cups sugar. I use the light syrup. Heat the water in a medium pan and slowly mix in the sugar. Bring to a light boil, turn down the heat, and keep warm.
I do what’s called the “raw pack” method where I don’t pre-cook the peaches and I just add them to the jars.
Once peaches are added, pour in the syrup. The one batch of syrup should fill 6 jars if you filled them with plenty of peaches. You should have 1/2 to 1 inch of head space at the top.
Use a knife or canning tool to press against peaches to remove air bubbles. Tilt the jars slightly and press peaches towards the middle. You will need to do this for the “raw pack” method.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean wet cloth and place the lids and rings on. Tighten, but don’t over tighten.
Place jars in the canner.
Make sure you have enough water to cover the jars. Check the chart at the bottom of the page for processing time. Processing times are different based on method used (raw or hot), jar size, and altitude. Cover canner with lid while processing.
Use the jar lifter to remove jars from the canner.
Cool jars completely. You will hear the lids start to “pop” which means they sealed properly. Some will pop while still in the canner. Any jars that have not popped on their own after completely cooled should be refrigerated and used first. Enjoy your peaches!
Pints – 30 minutes
Quarts – 35 minutes
We will save these peaches for when fresh peaches are no longer in season. I stretch them out to last all year long! What a great treat to eat these in the wintertime!
What’s stopping you from trying your hand at canning? You could start with just a small amount of fruit and get the understanding of the process before launching into a day-long adventure of canning.
I’m thinking of trying some salsa next! I have a good number of tomatoes to use and since we like Mexican food so much, I’m pretty sure salsa would be a hit!
If you could, what would you like to can for wintertime?
With love from my country kitchen,