I learned something about peaches I didn't know before... I always knew there were "cling" peaches and "freestone" peaches and when on the search for peaches to can and preserve have always preferred freestone because of the ease in removing that pesky pit. In a cling peach the peach fruit "clings" to the pit and they're delicious for eating but difficult in preserving because you pretty much have to cut the flesh away from the seed. In a freestone peach you simply run your knife around the circumference and it pulls away easily from the pit in two halves. I always thought different varieties of peaches had different "clinginess" but I was indeed wrong! The peach expert at the farmers market, when we asked who was selling freestone peaches that day, replied that most everyone had freestones, but to be sure to ask just in case. He went on to explain that it's the season of year that designates whether a peach is cling or freestone. Early season peaches are generally cling and mid to late season peaches are freestone. Well, you CAN teach an ol' granny new tricks! I never knew that!
Thought I'd share that info!
When my daughter, Hannah, and I had our all day peach canning day recently, we canned up a few jars of simple peaches in syrup... great for snacking, with cottage cheese for a light lunch, or for making a yummy cobbler (the South's all time favorite dessert, alongside banana pudding!)
I still can peaches the way my Mama did and her Mama before her... it has always worked nicely and I see no need to mess with a good thing. Peaches are one of the few things I prefer to can using the raw pack method... like the name implies, raw packing is packing the raw fruit into hot, sterilized jars, then pouring a simple syrup over and processing them... I usually hot pack most produce because I can fit more in each jar that way, but peaches are worth having a little shrinkage going on in those jars, the juices left over in the jar are wonderful in their own way and add juiciness to cobblers... any ol' how... here's what we did...
We peeled (pour boiling water over the peaches or dip them in boiling water to loosen the peels for easy removal), halved and sprinkled Fruit Fresh over them as we went to prevent discoloring (Fruit Fresh is a citric acid)
Then we packed those juicy delicious peach halves into our hot, sterilized jars, RAW! (to sterilize the jars, we put them in a flat pan with a dish towel inside to keep them from falling over or clinking together, and water added, turn the jars upside down in the pan and bring to a boil)
We made a simple syrup of one part water, one part sugar... bringing the syrup to a boil and making sure all the sugar is dissolved.
Once the raw peaches were packed into the jars (sometimes this takes a little maneuvering, like a jigsaw puzzle!)... we poured the syrup over the peaches, filling the jar, leaving a half inch of headspace. We removed any air bubbles... we used a plastic tool that came with our canning kit, but a butter knife works just as well... just run it down the inside of the jar, between the fruit and the side of the jar. If there's a good amount of air released, more syrup will need to be added to fill back up to the half inch headspace.
We tightened our hot, sterilized jar lids and rings onto the jars to fingertip tightness (we had simmered the lids and rings in hot water, keeping them hot and simmering until we were ready for them).
We processed our jars of peaches in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (fill a canner, or large stockpot to the tops of the jars, bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle boil)
Once the jars of peaches had processed, we removed them from the hot water using a jar lifter (such a handy gadget!) and placed them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool.
And to listen for the sound of the PING! of each successfully sealed jar! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that sound!
|Notice how the peaches shrank up a little during processing,|
leaving all that lovely peachy-flavored syrup? It only adds
to the deliciousness and makes a great base for cobbler!
Can't wait to make a cobbler!
My Mama always made a super easy, super delicious cobbler using home canned peaches (you can use any fruit really)... here's how she did it and, again, I see no reason to stray from this perfection...
Melt a stick of butter in a 9x13 inch baking pan (I use a glass one)
Meanwhile mix a cup of self-rising flour, a cup of sugar, and 3/4 cup of milk in a mixing bowl
Once the butter is melted, pour a quart jar of home canned peaches over the melted butter in the pan, using a spoon, sorta chop the peaches into more bite sized pieces if desired... or leave them in their halves... it's a personal preference thing here!
Then pour over the flour/sugar/milk mixture... it will bubble around, surround and make a wonderful cobbler crust with the peaches and syrup...
Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown... I think it takes about 30 minutes...maybe 45... just keep checking until it's done through and golden brown... Heaven on Earth for the taste buds!