This summer has possibly been the BEST summer ever to can fresh vegetables and fruits. Not only has the weather in the Midwest been cool (perfect for standing over a hot stove), but it’s also created lots, and lots of rain! Just when we think our garden has passed it’s prime we get another round of fresh goodies.
Now that we have a baby eating solids I’ve been looking to create a few canning recipes that he could really enjoy. Making your own baby food is a lot of work so anything I can do to save time down the road, while utilizing our homegrown ingredients, is worth it to me!
We spent a Saturday morning picking peaches at Wind Drift Orchard in Harrah, OK. The staff was super friendly and even helped point us toward the best trees. Snacking is one of the best reasons to pick your own as you hunt down the best batch of squishy/firm peaches.
Canned peaches are wonderful right off the grill (we’ve been eating this salad ALL summer!), perfect for a warm winter cobbler, or just straight out of the jar! This variation uses honey, instead of sugar, as a healthier variation than the typical syrups you find recommended for home canned fruit. I tend to prefer a light syrup anyways so that I’m not stuck using my fruits in only sweet treats. I figure you can always add more later on, but you can’t take it out. Sugar is not needed to preserve fruits properly; it’s just preferred for the taste! You can actually can fruits in water only, if you would like, but this recipe combines a bit of sweet, and savory that is just lovely.
Canned Peaches with Honey and Fresh Basil
Yields: 5 Quart Jars
15 lbs of Peaches (peeled, halved, pitted, treated to prevent browning and drained–instructions below)
20 Fresh Basil Leaves (about 4-5 per quart)
4 Cups + 1 Gallon of Water
1 Cup of Honey
2 Tablespoons of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Vinegar
STEP 1: Peel, half, and pit peaches. Bring a large sauce pan of water to a rolling boiling. Place 8-10 peaces in the hot water (careful not to overcrowd) for 2 minutes. Transfer immediately to a cold bath for another 2 minutes (I found the colder the water the better so use ice if you can). Slip the skins off, half, and pit the peaches.
STEP 2: Treat peach halves for browning. In a large bucket add 2 tablespoons of salt and vinegar to a gallon of water. Drop peeled peaches into the solution. Do not soak more than 20 minutes. Rinse before canning.
STEP 3: Raw Pack (meaning the peaches are not precooked or hot when placed into the jars) the peaches into the jars placing halves in over-layers.
STEP 4: Make honey syrup. In a large saucepan combine 4 cups of water, and 1 cup of honey. Bring to a rolling boil. Fill quarts with hot honey syrup (about 1 cup per quart) leaving a good two inches of space at the top for additional peach juices to fill up the jars.
STEP 5: Stir with wooden or plastic (not metal!) spoon to remove air bubbles, and continue adding more hot syrup if needed.
STEP 6: Seal with hot lids, and apply screw bands.
STEP 7: Process in a water bath for 30 minutes (25 for pints). Open the canner lid, and wait an additional 5 minutes.
STEP 7: Remove the jars and let them completely cool, seal for 12-24 hours. If a jar lid still pops up and down when you press on it, after the cooling stage, the jar did not seal properly. Store in a cool dark place up to 1 year.
* Although picking peaches doesn’t take nearly as long as berry picking the work once you get home is rather invovled. Make sure you have a good full day to prepare the fruit, and can it the same day. Canning your peaches as soon as you pick them guarantees they’ll hold a fresher taste.
** When picking fruit try and pick them all as close to the same ripeness and “squishy/firmness” as possible.
*** If you prefer a sweeter syrup add in one cup of sugar when you mix the honey and water. Bring to a boil, let the sugar dissolve, and ladle into hot jars.
I know it probably seems cheesy that this recipe is “Canning with Cale”, but honestly he stayed up with me nearly 2 nights in a row blanching, and prepping the fruit. He was a great help, and we had a lot of fun staying up to the wee hours of the night canning like crazy people! I don’t know if it’s the fact that we both turned 30 this year, or that our priorities really have changed, but we kinda like spending our Friday nights hovering over a hot steamy stove.
Best of luck in all your summer canning, dehydrating, and preserving efforts! Please share any tips you’ve learned this season in the comments or advice on how we can make this recipe better. Thanks!
From the Farm
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