We love home-canned peaches. I buy several lugs of Elberta peaches when they come in at our local supermarket in late July or early August. These are “freestone” peaches; and are easy to pit. They have a flavor unlike the “cling” peaches that commercial canners usually use, much better in our opinion. Fully ripe peaches should slip their skins easily, if you are unsure that they are ripe, try one. If it doesn’t slip its skin quickly, let them ripen another day or two at room temperature. This recipe is for light syrup; heavy syrup will make “floating” peaches. This is also a hot pack; raw packs make poor-quality peaches according to Clemson University in South Carolina – home of peach experts. You can use other preservatives besides Fruit Fresh, following directions on the package, but it is the most readily available around here.
Peaches cost me $14.99 a lug this year, $2 less than I paid last year. I am canning peaches this week, they arrived at our grocery last week, but weren't quite ready to can. I'm not a "blue-ribbon" canner, we just like to preserve the deliciousness of the season.
Home Canned Peaches
1 lug Peaches, Elberta (size 60)
3 Tablespoons Fruit Fresh
3 Quarts cool water -- in dish pan with fruit fresh
16 each canning jars, pints with lids
2 1/2 Cups sugar
10 Cups Water -- for syrup
Heat water in a stock pot with a pasta insert if you have one; add peaches and heat for 1 minute, strain, drop into cold water in small dishpan, then peel and halve. Hold in a mixture of 3 quarts cool water with 5 Tbsp Fruit Fresh in large, clean dishpan. Repeat until all are ready. Make sure all the pieces are covered well with Fruit Fresh, plunging the newest ones down into mixture. (If you plan to can pints and have one canner, you may want to stop with ½ of the lug, can them, and then get the rest ready). Don't fill jars until you are ready to put them in the canner immediately.
Heat water in a boiling water bath canner. Heat the sugar and water for syrup in a stock pot or jelly pan. Add enough peaches for a canner load (about 7-8 halves per pint) and heat 5 minutes in syrup. In small saucepan, heat water to a simmer, add and hold lids for 5-10 minutes.
In hot, clean jars, pack fruit, pit side down, (use a teaspoon stuck into the pit side to place them in the jar quickly and easily), cover with syrup with 1/2 inch headspace; remove bubbles; wipe off rim; cap and place in canner. Process for 20 minutes for pints or 25 minutes for quarts at 1000’ altitude in a boiling water bath canner. Cool on a folded towel (I put the towel on a half-sheet pan so I can move it).
Check Home Canning Information for additional help.
My Husband and I canned 52 pints of peaches yesterday from the 3 lugs pictured. We ran 2 water-bath canners (I use 20 Qt. Stainless stockpots with racks in them). The peaches were perfect, and we didn't waste one.