Friday, July 31, 2009

Yes we CAN! Tutorial - Peach Preserves

WARNING - This demo involves canning. If you have never canned anything please read up on it a little, improper canning leads to food poisoning.

Nom nom nom! It's cooking time again! I got a helluva deal on bump-n-dent peaches at the Farmers Market last weekend. 15 or so lbs. for $12. Too much however to eat and make peach pie for a week, so I ran off to the hardware store for a flat of jelly jars and two packs of pectin.
Actually, first before I did anything I cut up the dented-est half of the peaches and put them in the fridge. Best not to feed the fruit flies.
Then we pile them in a sauce pan. 6 cups chunked fruit packed tight, 3 cups sugar. A splash of lemon. Stir and stir until its nice and mushy, if I had a food mill I would have used it, but a little chunky won't hurt. Add a tablespoon of butter, the pack of pectin and turn off the heat. Keep stirring until it thickens a little.

Mean while you want to have the jars and lids (but not bands!) heating slowly in a pan of water. You never want glass to undergo a big temperature swing (says the girl who had a glass pitcher literally explode while making iced tea...oops). If you aren't using brand new bands you'll need to use paraffin too (see warning above).

Fill the jars carefully, I used an ice-cream scoop. Clean off the top of the jar and carefully place the hot lid on it. Tighten the band lightly, then back off. You will tighen it fully later. The preserve should still be quite hot when you do this. Now place them in a pan to boil for ten minutes. (my pan could only hold three at a time)

Also note that it is very difficult to do a double batch and have it set properly, just do it twice eh?

There we have it, pretty little rows of fresh peaches put up for the winter. I did a second batch, and added ginger (ooh!) Heck, is any of this going to last through the winter? It's sooo good!

The tool sitting next to the jars is a jar lifter. Not neccessary, but very useful. Also good for pulling corn out of boiling water.

Lastly let you jars cool slowly and without much disturbance for 12 or more hours. Check the vacuum (the lid should not move up and down when pressed gently) and tighten the bands fully. If the lids aren't on right re-boil or refrigerate.

Bake bread, make toast, enjoy!

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