On Saturday morning, Meg and I decided to head back to the Mercer Slough without our toddlers. We really wanted to get some fresh blueberries and well, our kids don't understand that running back and forth down the blueberry aisles, do not get blueberries in one's bucket. I mean, the girls are cute and all but sometimes Mamas need to do things alone.
We picked blueberries for about an hour and then headed in to pay for our goods. The farm has a great produce stand with tons of fresh, local fruits and veggies. I've been wanting to can some peach jam for a few weeks but was told to hold off by the farmers at my local farmer's market. I knew this was the week and when I saw that the stand had 20 lb boxes of peaches for only $15, I jumped on the deal. I gave a few peaches to Meg and loaded up my HUGE box of peaches. As I drove home, I sang some Presidents and giggled to myself. I had plans!
The peaches were not quite ripe enough for canning so I decided to hold off until Monday to start my canning adventures. On Monday, I gathered my supplies and started canning. I started with Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam before moving onto Peach Pie filling.
On Tuesday, I sat back and marveled at my hard work and then sighed when I noticed that I still had more than half the box to get through. I started pouring through my canning books for more recipes. I asked people on Facebook and my Grandma Sherry suggested that I just can the peaches in light syrup.
I pondered this situation through Thursday before deciding that Grandma Sherry was right. I set Molly up in her learning tower and got to work. I blanched the rest of the peaches and cut them into slices. Then I started my simple syrup. It took awhile to boil which gave me time to sterilize my jars.
After a few hours of work, with a bit of Elmo watching on the iPad for Molly, I finally saw the bottom of the box. In the end, I ended up with six jars of peach jam, 3 jars of peach pie filling and 6 jars of peaches. Whew! Next time I think about getting 20 lbs of peaches, I might think again. Of course now we'll get to enjoy peachy goodness all winter long.
Vanilla Peaches in Light Syrup
Makes 4 Quart Jars
adapted from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff
8 lbs of peaches, freestone
1 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice (NOT fresh)
2 quarts of water
4 cups of sugar
2 vanilla beans, cut in half and split OR whole cinnamon stick
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in the lemon juice.
- Blanch, halve, pit and slice the peaches before placing in the prepared lemon water. This helps keep the peaches from turning brown.
- Prepare your jars for canning using your prefered method.
- In a large dutch oven, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and remove from heat.
- Pack the jars with peach slices, leaving about an inch below the rim. Place either a vanilla bean or a cinnamon stick in with the peaches. Make sure to really pack your peaches into the jars.
- Pour the simple syrup over the peaches. Use a chopstick to release any bubbles and add more syrup as necessary, filling up to an 1/2" below the rim.
- Use a clean towel to wipe any syrup off the rims and top each jar with a sterilized, new lid and tightened ring. Process the quart jars in your boiling, water bath for about 25 minutes. Make sure the jars have at least an inch of water covering them. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit for 24 hours. Do not disturb the jars. Check the seals after an hour and place all unsealed jars in the fridge. Use the sealed jars within a year and the unsealed jars within three weeks.
If you are new to canning or obsessed with it like I am, I have to highly recommend this book! It's full of fantastic canning recipes by season and even has recipes that feature all your delicious canned goods!