Isn’t summer grand??
I mean, the weather is glorious, we spends most of our free time outside getting as much fresh air as possible and we can eat “all the local things”!!
I grow a lot of stuff here at home (like most of the vegetables we eat but also some berries and fruits). I have 8 apples trees and two peach trees (look at this gloriousness below!!)…
Summer is the Time to Visit Your Local Peach Stand or Farmers Market!
But, I love visiting local markets and talking to the smartest people on the planet (aka local farmers) so I do pick up some local delicacies there too.
The one thing I tend to buy every year is a bushel of peaches (or a large box which is about 3/4 of a bushel).
Sometimes I buy them and then get busy doing other things and I don’t get around to canning them for about 3-4 days (since they are freshly picked, some of them will start to get soft spots pretty quickly – I usually cut those ones up [see below] and freeze for some baked goodies later – here is a blog post with all the peach recipes!!)
What Do you Look For When Buying Peaches?
- The best piece of advice I can give you is to buy ripe peaches…either firm-ripe
(when pressed, they will ‘give’ slightly),or those with more give meaning they are
soft and ready to eat. The color near the stem end should have a golden yellow colour, not green.
- You’ll know if a peach has been picked ripe or not by how it ripens. Peaches that were picked very green will not ripen, and if they were refrigerated, they’ll go from green to mealy when left out of the fridge.
- Refrigeration will stop the peaches from ripening, so even very
ripe peaches will last for another couple days.
- Sort your peaches by ripeness (the ones that are very ripe can either be eaten straight away or you can make peach preserves with them (refer to this post for details). If you’d like to keep a few to eat in the next day or so, remember that peaches are best stored resting on the ‘bump’ by the stem and not touching one another (that’s when they begin to mold).
- If you have peaches that you’d like to ripen further, leave
them at room temperature in a dry area, even near a window with only a bit of direct sun. Check them daily, and use or refrigerate when they’re ready.
- If you find yourself with a few peaches that need to be used, check out this post for instruction!!
But if you’d like to try your hand at canning peaches, here is a basic recipe below. Try canning some and freezing some so you can test out which you prefer over the winter)
3/4 bushel of peaches (after I took out the peaches that I cut up and froze, I would say I had about 40 peaches)
8 c water
1 c sugar
1 large stock pot to “process” the jars
1 soup pot to boil the peaches
a medium pot for the simple syrup
12 jars with lids (if you are using old jars, make sure the flat lid is still good…sometimes the gummy rubber part gets old…throw those away!)
A paring knife
A large knife
2 large bowls (one filled with cold water and another to gather the peach sections)
1 wet, clean rag
1 dry tea towel
(canning tools are helpful but not necessary)
1. Fill the soup pot about 3/4 way full and bring to a boil. After you have inspected the peaches, put about 6 at a time into the pot and bring to a full boil ( see picture above…notice the peach squares in the back? I think they were too dry…adjusting recipe and will post soon).
2. When you can see that the skins are loosening, remove the peaches and place them in a bowl that has been filled with cold water like this….
3. Take a peach (that has cooled a bit) into your hand and use the other hand (with a paring knife) to scrape back the skin….it should look like this.
4. If you buy the right kind of peaches (freestone are the ones you want because they come off the pit easily – just cut around the pit all the way, gently grab both halves and turn in opposite directions…it will come off the pit easily and then you can use the tip of a small knife to pop out the pit form the other half). If they are not freestone, you’ll need to cut off slices like this below…
6. Pack them into jars and then make your simple syrup… in a medium pot, mix together the water and sugar; cook until the sugar has dissolved (about 5-10 minutes). Fill the jars with the peaches and try to push them down (without breaking or mushing them)…try to leave the top inch free.
7. Fill the largest pot with water and bring to a boil; throw the flat lids in to get the rubber seals a bit gummy. Pour some of the simple syrup into the jars and fill, making sure to cover the peaches but leave a bit of space at the top. Wipe the top of the jar with the clean rag (to make sure there is no residue before you seal them). Remove the hot lids from the boiling water and place on top of the jars. Screw on the metal lids and place into the stock pot full of water. Boil for about 10 minutes and remove to cool.
Somehow, when hard work goes into something, it always tastes better!