Tuesday’s Tips — No-sugar Canned Peaches
August 23, 2011 by Barbara
It’s undeniable even here in Southern California, fall is in the air. Though the temperature is nowhere near nippy, there’s a hint of a cool breeze, a different cast to the light, and a particular smell that all come with the changing of the season.
That means that we need to start cleaning up the garden. Some of my trials have punked out — believe it or not the nasturtiums I started from seed never really took off. I blame the crappy soil. I’ll remove the crispy remains and start planning to add lots more organic amendments to my beds in a few weeks.
Once I get things cleaned out, I’ll start thinking about starting seeds for a few cool weather crops. I won’t do many, again because of my heavy clay soil, but I’ll certainly plant lettuce and spinach in some containers. I might even do a small raised bed.
Hints of fall also make me want to preserve a bit of summer to brighten up gloomy winter days. So I’m going to put up some peaches. The easiest way to preserve peaches is to freeze them. Blanch (see recipe below) then peel and slice the peaches, placing slices on a cookie sheet. Put them into the freezer until completely frozen, then transfer into a storage container. (Smaller fruits like blueberries or strawberries can be washed and frozen whole.) Sometime in the depths of winter you are going to be so happy that you can whip up a pie or cobbler with that just-picked summer taste.
Canning is a little more time-consuming but not at all difficult. Most canned fruit recipes are too sweet for my taste, but I just found what seems to be a great recipe in the AARP Magazine that uses fruit juice in place of sugar syrup.
No-sugar Canned Peaches
- 6 one-quart canning jars with rings and self-sealing lids
- 11 pounds of ripe peaches
- 1 package ascorbic or citric acid
- 2 quarts unsweetened apple or white grape juice
1. Sterilize canning jars and rings by simmering them in hot water for at least 10 minutes. Leave them in the hot water until ready to use. Lids should be in hot, but not boiling water, until ready to use.
2. Mix ascorbic or citric acid with water according to package directions.
3. Boil water in another saucepan to blanch the fruit. Dip fruit, a few at a time, into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly into cold water and slip off skins.
4. Cut fruit in half, remove pits and slice. Coat peaches with acid water to prevent darkening. (Acidifying the peaches also helps preserve them. Do not skip this or any other steps.)
5. Pack peach slices in jars, almost to the top. Be sure to leave the top 1/2″ free.
6. Bring the juice to a boil and ladle it over the peaches, leaving 1/2″ of headspace.
7. Make sure there are no big bubbles in the jars. If there are, slip in a knife to release them. Wipe jar rims clean of any bits of fruit or juice. Put lids on and hand-tighten.
8. Process jars in a boiling-water canner with jars covered by 2″ of boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes.
9. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool for 12 hours. You should hear each jar “ping” as it cools and the seal forms.
10. Unscrew rings to make sure jars are sealed. The lids should be firmly attached and slightly indented in the center. (If a jar isn’t sealed properly, you can refrigerate it and eat the peaches within a few days.)
Store in a dark, cool place for up to one year. (Recipe from AARP Magazine with some edits.)
Just a heads-up — posts might be a little erratic for the next 2 or 3 weeks. My daughter is getting married soon and Mary Beth just started a great job. It’s all good and very exciting, but we’re both a little over the top with things to do.