Winter Fresh Peaches

9/17/13

fresh peaches yummmmmmm. soon these fuzzy treasures will be out of season and cost literally an arm and a leg if you want one. this year i've very much been focused on eating locally, but now I want to include a task of eating seasonally. that isn't something I have been very good at because i often find myself getting sucked into the rows of shiny happy fruits at the grocery story during the cold winter months. I get so entranced by things like a genetically modified shiny strawberry bigger than my fist! but this year I am going to try to remain strong, armed with my seasonal fruit charts in hand. this past weekend as i was gallivanting around at the grocery store, i saw a whole display of overflowing baskets of fresh ripe peaches on sale and decided it high time I put my preserving/canning skills to work so we can enjoy seasonally fresh peaches this winter.
what you'll need:
  • fresh ripe peaches
  • heat proof containers. (i highly recommend buying yourself some mason jars because they will last a lifetime)
  • mason jar lids and rings (these are the only kind that will create a airtight seal for long-term storage)
  • vanilla beans or cinnamon sticks
  • large pot
  • sugar
  • ladle
  • baking sheet
  • tongs
basic sweet syrup:
mix 2 cups water to 1 cups sugar. bring to a rolling boil for 3 minutes stirring regularly while ensuring that all the sugar dissolves.  *note: i did try to substitute the sugar for a smaller amount of organic honey, but the results did not prove to be the same and affected the mixture.

The how:
1. start by washing your jars and lids to ensure they are perfectly clean    2. peel and core all your peaches and then cut the into halves or quarters (a variety is nice!).   3. make a simple medium thick syrup using the recipe above.  4. place your mason jars in the oven on the middle rack and heat to 200 degrees which allows for proper sterilization of the containers before packing   5. pour boiling water in a closed sink and place in your lids and rings so they heat up in this hot water bath (leave them in there until you need them again)   6. once the jars are heated using oven mitts carefully remove one jar and place it on the baking sheet.   7. moving quickly, but carefully (because the jars is hot), add in enough peaches to fill the container but not stuff it    8. grab your ladle and spoon over the syrup mixture onto the peaches until it reaches the neck of the jar   9. carefully place in one vanilla bean, or one one cinnamon stick into the jar    10. using  tongs grab a lid and ring from the hot water bath and seal up the jar (I recommend you use a towel or oven mitt to help protect your hands while tightening the hot jar and hot lid)   11. repeat the last 5 steps with the remaining jars and peaches keeping them all on the baking sheet without touching each other  12. place the baking sheet of jars in a cool try place and drape a towel over them.   13. leave for approximately 24 hours and then check to see if the seals have "popped" – which means they have created the proper vacuum seal   14. to check press down on the center of your jars any lids that spring back have not sealed and should be placed in the refrigerator and eaten  15. place in a cool dark storage space for up to 1 year!


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