Today is a perfect Portland summer day for preserving – not too hot, nice mild breeze, high in the low 80’s… it doesn’t get much better.
Every summer we take a quick trip around the Fruit Loop in Hood River and load up the car with deliciousness. Usually we get our peaches in mid-August, but this year everything seems to be a few weeks early. So we were thrilled to find out that our favorite peaches – Red Havens – were ripe and ready to go at the end of July.
- – two canning pots of water on the stove
- – one big bowl of ice water
- – one small pot with hot water for lids
- – a case or so of canning jars
- The first thing we do is boil the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them, and place them upside down on clean towels. While the jars are boiling, we make an extra light syrup for the peaches – using the proportions in the Ball Blue Book, we combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with 5 3/4 cups water. Next the peaches are placed in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transferred to the bowl of ice water. Blanching the peaches helps the skins come off easier.
The next step is the most important. Call the neighbors and ask them to come help with the canning. It’s much faster and much more fun with friends. Our neighbors Steve and Rita offered their help and besides our eternal gratitude, they’ll also get a few jars of peaches.
Once the peaches are cut and packed in the jars, pour the hot sugar syrup over them, put on the lids and bands and set them in the hot water bath. Twenty-five minutes later, they’re ready to come out and cool down. That’s it. And now you have enough peaches to shake off the winter blues come January and February.
If you’ve never tried canning and would like to learn more, check out our classes. We offer waterbath and pressure canning classes.