The end of summer means we are nearing the end of yummy summer fruits like peaches and plums and nectarines, oh my! The end of a season also means that certain produce prices should be dropping a bit. Hopefully, they’ll drop by more than just a bit, especially peaches.
If you’ve manages to score a case or three of peaches, or you’re extremely blessed to have a peach tree or two in your backyard, dust off the canner and the dehydrator and line your pantry shelves with the beautiful colors of canned peaches, peach jam, peach salsa, peach BBQ sauce, and dried peaches.
I’ve been canning for a long time and tended to steer toward the more interesting recipes instead of the more practical ones. Unfortunately, one family can only use so many jars of jam and salsa, even though we give away a significant amount as gifts. I needed to do a little less foo-foo canning and a lot more practical canning. Although putting up sliced peaches in very light syrup isn’t check-out-this-cool recipe exciting, my effort will be appreciated later by my family when seasonal fruits are limited or non-existent.
Peaches in Very Light Syrup
Quantity: An average of 17 ½ pounds of peaches is needed per canner load of 7 quarts and 11 pounds for a canner load of 9 pints.
Preparing the fruit: You can use one of two methods for peeling your peaches, depending on the softness of your fruit. For very ripe, soft peaches, dip the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, until skins loosen or crack. Transfer the peaches quickly to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and to cool them for easier handling. The skins should slip right off. Simply peel harder fruits with a knife or peeler.
Cut peaches in half and remove the pits. Slice if desired. To prevent darkened or discolored fruit, keep fruit in ascorbic acid or citric acid solution.
Very Light Syrup: In a large, stainless steel saucepan, dissolve ¾ cup of sugar in 6 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Keep hot until needed, but do not boil. Continued boiling will reduce your syrup, making in more concentrated than originally intended.
Hot Pack: Place drained fruit in syrup and bring to a boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes fro pints and 25 minutes for quarts. . Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Cool and store in a cool, dark place.
Raw Pack: Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down. Add hot syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes fro pints and 25 minutes for quarts. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Cool and store in a cool, dark place.
Low- and No-Sugar options
If you are watching your sugar intake, you have several options you can use instead of the sugar syrup. You can replace up to half of the sugar with honey or replace all of the sugar with sucralose (Splenda ®). You can also eliminate the sugar altogether and use plain water or unsweetened juice. Just remember that the sugar helps the peaches retain their color and shape and enhances the flavor. Eliminating it entirely may change the taste and appearance of the final product over time.
Thanks for stopping by! Today’s canning adventure definitely won’t be going to the fair or be included in any Christmas gift baskets, but it will come in handy in a couple of months when our fruit choices have dwindled significantly. Like I said before, this is practical canning. Although these peaches won’t be winning any Best in Show ribbon, they fill my pantry efficiently and feed my family well. Yeah, I’m okay with that.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,
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