How to Can and Freeze Peaches

Georgia is known for it’s peaches but the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia can also grow some awesome peaches.

I have fallen in love with “Blazing Star”, a yellow peach from Turkey Knob Growers who are a part of  Bowman’s Orchard in Timberville, VA.  They were so sweet, juicy and as the saying goes “gorgeous as a peach!” They were so juicy I had to lean forward over the sink to eat one or I would have been wearing the juice on my front side!  They also hold well while you are peeling and very importantly they are “cling-free”, which means the seed or pit  is easy to pop out.  They also have very little fuzz.  They have several “Star” peaches and Blushing Star is their white peach.

I used to like Red Haven  a  good, older variety but they have fallen out of my good graces as they can cling tight to the pit making them very difficult and frustrating to  process.

You want your peaches to be soft but not mushy to process. If they are hard let them set for a day or so. When you give a little, gentle squeeze they should feel soft.

There are two ways to remove the skins.  My favorite way is to sit in my chair and peel.  It takes me about 40 seconds with a sharp paring knife to cut the peach in half along the natural groove of the peach, pop the pit out  and peel both halves.  I peel in a circular motion around the half.

Another way to remove the skins is to drop the peach in boiling water for approximately 1 minute.

Remove the peach with a slotted spoon and drop into  a container of ice water. The skins will slip off.   Then cut the peach in half and pop out the pit.  (By the way, I would have peeled 2 peaches by the time this is done plus I was sitting and not standing on my feet!!!)

You can can peaches in halves, quarters, slices or chunks. I like to do some each way. The chunks I use to make peach cobbler or pie.  An easy way to put the halves in a jar (wide mouth jars work best) is to use a fork.  Drop the peach face down and layer additional peaches face down on top.

Fill the jars with a medium sugar brine. I simply use hot tap water-no sugar. The peaches are so sweet and with Gene being pre-diabetic we use almost no sugar. Fill to the lip at the neck of the jar. Do not overfill.

To make a medium sugar brine mix 2 cups sugar with 4 c. water. Fill the jars with brine.  Another option is to put 1/2 c. per quart and fill with warm water.

Boil the lids in water for a few minutes and set on top of filled jars.

Add the ring and tighten securely.

Put 2 quarts of water and 1 tsp. cream of tarter in the pressure cooker. The cream of tarter keeps the inside of the canner looking shining.

Set the jar into the pressure canner.

Put the lid on the canner and when you see steam coming out of the vent hole on top put on the weight. The gauge will soon start to rise and you want 5 pounds of pressure for 8 minutes.

I always set the timer so I do not forget about the canner. You do not want to leave the canner. Choose another project to do in the kitchen so you are close by.  If you do walk away-even for a few seconds, take your timer with you so you have the reminder of the canner on the stove. The canner  is very safe to use but if you forget about it and the gauge goes into the black danger zone you could end up with a hole in your kitchen ceiling!

Once the allotted time is up, turn off the stove and let the gauge come down to zero. When the sound of air escaping from the vent has quit it is safe to open the canner and remove the jars. I set them on a towel on the counter to cool. Within a few minutes you will hear the delightful popping of the lids as they seal.

Let the jars cool overnight and then remove the rings. The jars will stay sealed and store in a cool, dark room.   In a warm, well-lit room the peaches have a tendency to darken over time.

To freeze peaches…..

Simply peel, pit and slice peaches into freezer containers.  Sprinkle a little sugar over the layers of peaches  and freeze. (Note: I do not use any sugar).

Peach Jam

I use the peaches that are bruised or extra soft for jam.   I use the recipe on the “pectin” box. I prefer freezer jam but they have recipes for jam, jelly, freezer and canned.  I made the sugar-free this year.

Questions:  (These are in response to questions asked from my blog post).

  1. Why does the pit (seed) not want to pop out of my peach?   If peaches are not quite ripe this can be a problem. But usually it is the variety of peach. I always make sure I buy “cling-free” peaches. I am not sure why any orchard would raise and sell peaches that aren’t “cling-free” but they do.  Red Haven is a good example of a peach that can go either way.  They are a very good flavored peach. I love them. But sometimes they are “cling-free” and sometimes they are not.  When the pit will not release you mutilate the peach trying to free it. I refuse to buy them.

For additional canning questions, look at my blog post called “Frequently Asked Canning Questions”.

2 Comments »

  1. obejill Said:

    Mom, it’s Blazing Star. =)

    Like

  2. Pat Said:

    No, it is Blushing Star. They didn’t have Blazing Star and they wrote it on our boxes also. They also told Obe it was Blushing Star.

    Like


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