“Those look fantastic,” I said.
I was watching as my group of adult students lifted their jars of peach halves from the boiling water bath canner. I had chosen the peaches for canning because they are in season right now. The jars looked like orange soldiers lined up on the stainless steel table while our group listened for the tell-tale popping sounds of the vacuum seal lids during cool down.
It’s hard to visit the farmers market or the grocery store without finding peaches at a reasonable price. The fresh peach aroma is intoxicating and the flavor is so good that capturing it for later on is worth almost any amount of work.
Fortunately, putting up peaches is not difficult. Freezing is one option. Canning is another. Both are great ways to hang on to that taste that’s only available during the summer months.
Here are the easy 1-2-3’s of freezing peaches.
Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds to loosen skins. Remove skins and pits. Slice fruit to desired size. To decrease fruit darkening, sprinkle each quart of prepared fruit with a mixture of 750mg ascorbic acid (crushed vitamin C tablets) mixed with 3 tablespoons water. Or, use commercial anti-darkening agent such as Fruit Fresh, if desired. To each quart of treated peaches, add two-thirds cup sugar and mix well. Allow to stand briefly for juices to accumulate. Pack peaches into freezer proof containers, label and freeze at 0 degrees.
Want to can peaches? Here’s how.
Remove peach skins as described above. Remove pits, slice peaches in halves or slices and add to anti-darkening solution of 3000mg ascorbic acid (crushed vitamin C tablets) and 1 gallon water. Or, use commercial anti-darkening agent, if desired. Remove peaches from anti-darkening solution and pack into hot canning jars, leaving half-inch head space. Fill jars with hot liquid (water or apple juice or white grape juice) to half-inch from top. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process pint jars 25 minutes or quart jars 30 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.
Fresh peaches are only around during the warmest months. Grab a friend to help out and invest an afternoon putting up peaches. This winter when you have peaches for dessert, you sure will be glad you spent a single afternoon’s effort on that incredible flavor.