It's good. Very good. But maybe it's because the peaches themselves were so delicious. Peaches aren't done here yet and I am tempted to go and get another half bushel. But that would mean so much more canning. The question comes down to how many peaches we will feasibly eat in a year and I don't think we've discovered the answer to that yet.
Peach butter is basically a boiled down, very sugary, pulp of the fruit. You are supposed to cook it until it mounds on a cold plate and the juice does not separate. I think mine is just shy of being done right. I'm not entirely sure because the plate was not cold and it was also slightly wet. Either way, it was supposed to sit in a firm mound with just a rim of juice around it. You can see in the picture that my mound is a little loose and the juice has spread slightly more than it should have.
I was so happy canning, and I feel as if I actually canned love into those jars, but it makes me tired looking at the pictures. All that work done late at night and all that sticky peach juice spilled and dripped all over the counters and floors had me very tired! It was worth it, though! You can see the peach butter, the canned peach slices and the four fruit nectar.
I normally like to type out all the recipes I use for you, but maybe I'll break them up since canning recipes are pretty long. And, remember, these recipes come from the Ball "Complete Book of Home Preserving" book.
Makes about eight 8-oz (250mL) jars or four pint (500 mL) jars.
4 1/2 lbs (2 kg) peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 cups (1L) granulated sugar
1. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine peaches, water and lemon zest and juice. Brint to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until peaches are soft, about 20 minutes.
2. Working in batches, transfer peach mixture to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy. Measure 8 cups (2 L) of peach puree.
3. In a clean large stainless steel saucepan, combine peach puree and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon.
4. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
5. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot butter. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
6. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. (15 minutes in my case.) Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
I actually had enough leftover butter to fill 2 jars but I just froze it so that I could be done for the night.
When you can peach halves, you have several options. You can can them in syrups of varying degrees of sugariness or even juice or water. I chose to use an extra-light syrup. Depending on what syrup you use, you can use the raw-pack or the hot-pack method. Raw-pack is appropriate for light syrups and I went with that method to save some time as well.
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar
5 1/2 cups (1.375 L) water
syrup yield: 6 cups (1.5 L)
In a stainless steel saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until needed, taking care not to boil the syrup down.
Peaches in Syrup
Makes about eight pint (500 mL) jars or four quart (1 L) jars
8-12 lbs (3.6-5.5 kg) peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, treated to prevent browning and drained
1 batch hot syrup
Raw pack method:
1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
2. Pack peaches, cavity side down and overlapping layers, into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top of jar. Ladle hot syrup into jar to cover peaches, leaving 1/2 inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary, by adding hot syrup. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
3. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process pint (50 mL) jars for 25 minutes (30 minutes in my case) and quart (1 L) jars for 30 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Four Fruit Nectar is a very summery concoction. I juiced fresh fruits using the Jack LaLanne juicer we got for Christmas years ago. (I love that juicer!) I halved the oranges and grapefruits and then cut the rinds and pith off. The pineapple was peeled, cored and cut into chunks. Then, I just dropped the fruit halves into the juicer and waited for the juicer to work its magic. As I rack my brain right now, I can't remember how many oranges and how many grapefruits I used to get the necessary amount. I can tell you, however, that 1 pineapple falls short of yielding 2 cups. Maybe these juices are best bought at Trader Joe's.
Four Fruit Nectar
Makes about eight pint (500 mL) jars or four quart (1 L) jars
4 cups (1 L) peach puree (about 8-10 medium peaches)
4 cups (1 L) freshly squeezed orange juice (~12 oranges???)
4 cups (1 L) unsweetened pineapple juice
4 cups (1 L) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (~4 grapefruits???)
2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine peach puree, orange jucie, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, water and honey. Heat to 190F (88C) over medium-high heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if necessary.
3. Ladle hot nectar into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot nectar. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process both pint (500 mL) and quart (1 L) jars for 20 minutes (25 minutes for me). Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
If you've decided to can this summer, hope you're enjoying the experience and I'd love to hear about it! If not, I hope you sort of want to try after reading these posts.