Step 1- Wash you peaches and remove any stems and leaves.
Step 2 - Remove the skins. The easiest way to do this is to bring a pot of water to boiling point and have a bowl filled with ice water. Put the peaches in the boiling water for no more than 1 minute, remove and immediately place in ice bath. Leave in ice bath for a few minutes and place on a towel to dry. Once the skins air out a bit you should be able to take a knife, grab a piece of the skin and peel all of it back with ease.
*The best results using this method comes when using perfect peaches without blemishes or bruises.
Because my peaches were collected off the ground some of them were not in the best condition so I had to peel each piece with a knife.
Step 3- Take peeled peach and run your knife around the peach following the natural "crack" the peach has. Using you knife crack open the peach in the crack you just made. You should have a perfectly halved peach. Grab the sharp point of the seed and just pull it out.
Step 4- Place halved peaches in a big bowl. You can treat peaches with Vitamin C (Fruit Fresh) to protect the flavor and prevent browning.
Step 5- Make a light or medium syrup to pack your peaches in. The syrup does not enhance the sweetness of your peaches. I use the lightest syrup possible because the peaches I can are used in my cereal throughout the year. Keep the syrup hot.
Step 6- Make sure your cans are either hot right out of the dishwasher or right out of a pot of hot water. Because your cans need to be washed before canning I try and time it with the ending of the dishwasher so I don't have to create another step for myself. But because that can be hard you can place the empty mason jars in boiling water for 10 minutes before packing the peaches.
Step 7- Place your lids and rings in warm water. Make sure this water does not boil!!!
Step 8- Take hot mason jars, line them up on a cookie sheet, Place a funnel on the jar, pour your peaches in the jar attempting to get the peaches placed cavity side down, overlapping the best you can. This helps you get the most storage out of each jar. Laddle hot syrup over the peaches, leaving 1/2 inch headspace in each jar. Take a butter knife and run it around the sides of the jar to release any air bubbles.
(Insert picture of Robyn running around the kitchen in a frantic frenzy.)
Step 9- Take lids and rings out of warm water, make sure to dry the lids. Place directly on top of the jars and seal the rings. Do not over tighten the rings. Just use the strength of one hand.
Step 10- Place cans in a pot of boiling water. The top of the can needs to be covered with at least an inch of water. Boil "process" pints for 20 minutes, quarts for 25 minutes.
Step 11- Gently remove jars with a can grabber and place on a towel in a spot that they can rest at for at least 12-24 hours without being moved.
Step 12- You should hear the "thunk" noises going off anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours after removing from the hot water. This is the seal being made.
This is the first year that I broke down to spend the money on a canning grabber and it was worth every bit of the $5 I spent. Using a standard set of tongs will end in boiling water burns all over your body.
And just for fun here are some pictures from our first year of marriage in my closet of a kitchen. If I did it in this tiny space you can too! I can't tell you how many times I used my sink as an additional work space.
Extra light- 1 1/4 c Sugar & 5 c water, yields 6 cups
Light- 2 1/4 c Sugar & 5 1/4 c water, yields 6 1/2 cups
Medium- 3 1/4 c Sugar & 5 c water, yeilds 7 cups