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water bath canner
jams and jellies
stewed tomatoes
Let's Start Canning Part 4
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Let\'s Start Canning Part 4

In my previous articles, we covered the basics of home canning and what you need to start. I covered canning green beans and stewed tomatoes, step-by-step. This time I want to discuss a different method of canning known as the water bath method.

Water bath canning uses a special kettle, made of enamel coated steel. They are inexpensive and include a rack inside to set quart or pint canning jars on. Water bat canners have flat or ridged bottoms and depending on what type stove you have will determine which to buy. If you have an electric range, you will need a flat bottom canner. You can use either the flat bottom or the ridged bottom on a gas range.

Water bath canning preserves high acid foods, like most fruits, pickles, jellies and jams, with boiling water. Processing tomatoes with a water bath canner is OK as long as you are using high acid tomatoes. Many tomatoes today are low acid so if you are unsure, you will need to add acid. You can add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid, available where you buy canning supplies.

When canning peaches, you want to make sure your peaches are sweet and are freestone peaches. A freestone peach won’t stick to the pit making the halves easy to separate. Use firm, ready to eat fruit. Do not use fruit that is mushy or hard. You also want to buy yellow peaches. While you can use white peaches, they become mushy when they exposed to high temperatures. White peaches are better for freezing than canning.

We are so lucky living only 45 minutes from a huge peach orchard. They have the best peaches and we always make a trip each year to buy them for canning and making jams and jellies.

To fill a quart jar, you will need about 5 medium to large peaches or 2 ½ pounds; 18 pounds each canner. If you buy a bushel you should get roughly 20 quarts.

Preparing peaches for canning is the same as preparing tomatoes. You can peel each peach or do it the easier way and dip your fruit in a sink of boiling water then drop in a sink full of ice water. You don’t want to leave your peaches in the hot water too long or they will become mushy, only about 1-minute. Skins will pull off the peaches once removed from the ice water.

Once peeled, remove the pit and any brown spots or mushy areas then cut in halves, quarters or slices. Add fruit fresh or ¼ cup of lemon juice to peaches and stir until coated.

Depending on your preference, you can make a light, medium or heavy syrup.

Light: 2 cups sugar, 6 cups water

Medium: 3 cups sugar, 6 cups water

Heavy: 4 cups sugar, 6 cups water

Prepare your syrup by bringing water to a slow simmer. Slowly add sugar and stir until dissolved. Place prepared peaches in syrup and let simmer 5 minutes. I always hot pack my fruits because it is easier and the peaches won’t float as much as they do when you raw pack.

Fill hot jars with peaches to within 1 inch of the jar top. Slightly tilt jar and run a knife between the peaches and jar and down the center, releasing any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims with a clean cloth. Place a lid and ring on jar, tighten ring but not too tight.

Process jars in a water bath canner, making sure there is 1 to 2 inches of water covering the jars. Place lid on water canner and let process at a full boil for 20 minutes.

Using a jar lifter, carefully remove jars from water and let cool, making sure jars do not touch. Once cool, remove rings, check seals, wash and dry jars then store in a cool, dark place.

You now have that fresh off the tree peach flavor, all year for eating straight out of the jar or in your favorite dessert.


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