In the Kitchen With John- Canning Peaches

Hey all, spent the morning canning peaches, and though I would write this up for both me and you. That way, if any of you want to give it a go, you can try what I have learned from my dad and from reading and watching videos, and also I will have this to read next year before I do it again so I don’t forget anything and ruin any product.

Obviously the first thing is to source your peaches. I got mine on Monday, and I placed them all stem side down on my counter to ripen.

They told me the name of the peach but I will be damned if I can remember. At any rate, the peaches are ripe, so today was the day or I would start to have spoilage and then get fruit flies I would NEVER BE ABLE TO GET RID OF. So I filled my canner with hot water and a little vinegar and started sterilizing jars, filled up my 24 qt stock pot halfway to scald the peaches, put all the rings and lids in a pot to bring to a simmer, created a simple syrup in another stock pot, cleared off my workspace, sharpened my knives, fill the sink with ice and water, and fill another large pot with cold water and an appropriate ratio of fruitfresh produce powder. Here’s a picture of the simple syrup:

I like a light simple syrup made with something other than sugar because these peaches are super sweet already, but a little sweetener helps round it out a bit. I also made more than I did the last time, because I really like drinking the ice cold syrup, and since it is no extra calories because I am not using sugar, I will fill the jars just a little bit less so I can enjoy that delicious peachy nectar.

So I have all four burners rocking, the sink is prepped, and now it is time to get down to business. Take every peach, and make a circular incision across the top of the peach in line with the natural seam of the peach. Then make another incision across the top to quarter the peach. It should look something like this:

When you have a bowl of them done, throw them in the not quite boiling water for a minute to scald them:

A lot of people wash their peaches before doing this, but I see no point- this can be accomplished at the same time as scalding. If that grosses you out, fine, wash your damned peaches first and don’t eat mine. As you can see, after a minute,the peaches change color a little and you see a lot of the fuzz come off.

This is a very important stage for quality control- CAREFULLY ladle them out into the ice bath. The peach is a delicate fruit to begin with, and you have made it mushy by near boiling it, so if you are rough you will lose a lot of fruit and have an ugly product. Go ahead and do this with a bunch of fruit, then go back to quartering and repeat the process until you have a sink full of chilled fruit:

You will read some people who will say you don’t have to have an ice bath and it is not important, I think that is nonsense. I didn’t use enough ice the last time, and my results were not as good as today. The ice bath immediately firms the peach back up and makes it easier to twist the fruit with your palms to get rid of the pit. If you just use water, it will not get the same level of firmness back and be a mushy mess to work with. The last time I stored ice from the freezer for a few days, and it just wasn’t enough, so this morning I went and got a 22lb of ice from the general store.

Pit all of the fruit, put it on the cutting board, and then get down to peeling and putting the fruit in the water bath with fruit fresh powder:

As you can see, I keep all the skins and just throw the pits back into the ice bath to deal with later. At this point, if you are doing a lot of fruit, every time the water bath fills up, fill a couple of your sterilized jars, move them aside and cover them with something (I use kitchen towels) so no fruit flies or anything else can get in them. This is also an important time to use your pairing knife to get rid of imperfections on the fruit slices (just throw them in with the peels- we’ll use it later). Just continue doing this until you have all your jars filled:

At this point, take your simple syrup off the burner (you can also turn off the boiling water for scalding- just look over the deck before you dump it because you don’t want to boil Steve who may be lounging below) and put it on a trivet. Slowly ladle the simple syrup into the jar, and fill it to the neck line. You don’t want to overfill. Do this for all of them. At this point, I put a little squeeze of lemon in each jar, and for half of them I put a teaspoon of good vanilla extract in half the jars. You can use an actual vanilla bean, but I am not spending that kind of money for something that is going to only marginally improve what is already amazing.

You then want to tap every jar on the counter and use a spatula to make sure there no air bubbles (there shouldn’t really be with the simple syrup in there) and then with a clean moist dish towel, gently wipe the lid of every jar. Grab your pot full of lids and rings, and use the magnet to put a lid on each one. Gently screw the ring on to hand tightness.

Place your jars in the water bath canner with an inch of water covering them, and bring it to a boil:

Once it comes to a boil, set a timer for thirty minutes. I’m not using the pressure cooker for these because there is no need to do so.

And that is that. While everything is rotating through the bath, I am packing the sauerkraut that I cleaned up (I’ll post that process later) and boiling down the peels for jelly:

DON’T THROW OUT YOUR PEELS!

*Obviously there are lots of ways to do this- this is how I am doing it. And no, you don’t have to be an insane crazy person and do this a bushel at a time. If you want less, just buy fewer peaches. I like doing it, though, like the price when you do it in bulk, and want to share with friends and family.






69 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    It seems all the local peaches I can get around here are “cling” – which means that pitting them (“simply twist with your palms” indeed) is a huge pain. So is peeling then, even though everyone says the skins “slip right off” after the ice bath. Bullshit they do.

    So I just mash everything and make jam.

  2. 2

    Those peaches are a beautiful color.

  3. 3
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Curious whether you’re planning a piece on the death of the INF treaty.

  4. 4
    HinTN says:

    Excellent exposition, Cole. And, yes@Cheryl Rofer: they are.

  5. 5
    clay says:

    Ratcliffe is out as National Security Advisory, apparently.

    Undoubtedly a good thing, but I just can’t get over how little effort Trump puts into vetting and considering who he picks for these positions.

  6. 6
    jl says:

    Thanks for great canning pix and explanations. BJ will soon be America’s premier almost top 10,000 ex-tanker canning addict blog.
    This is truly a full service blog.

    Hope Cole keeps us updated on his garden and produce adventures.

  7. 7
    jl says:

    @clay: Fox news may have crowed over Ratcliffe’s dishonest scenery chewing at the Mueller testimony. That would be enough vetting for Trump.
    From Josh Marshall’s twitter feed, looks like Trump’s pubic announcement was by tweet.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    They look delicious 😋😋👌

    Do you really not fix a peach cobbler 🤗 with all that deliciousness 😲😲

    I love how you aren’t wasting anything 👏👏

    Good job, Cole 🤗

  9. 9

    @Gin & Tonic: I was not thinking about it, but maybe I will. Working on another Mueller report post.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @clay:

    Was just going to post this. It sure didn’t take long! And I fully agree — it’s just bizarre how the Trump Team doesn’t vet their choices BEFORE announcing. You’d think they’d learn …. oh, wait.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @jl:

    Trump’s pubic announcement

    Spare me.

  12. 12
    Mary G says:

    Beautiful pictures, Tammy.

  13. 13

    @jl:

    almost top 10,000 ex-tanker canning addict blog

    Again, you are selling this here blog short, jl. There are not more that 10,000 canning addicted ex-tankers out there.

  14. 14
    clay says:

    @jl: Yes, clearly Trump picked him because he was on TV. But any other administration—Republican or Democrat—would have run a background check, done extensive interviews with everybody this guy had ever worked with, verified all his public claims, etc.

    Anyone else would be eager to avoid the embarrassment of having a nominee fail. But Trump is oblivious to that. And it’s happened so often that now it seems normal!

    Even though it’s been over two years, I still sometimes have trouble accepting that this is actually happening.

  15. 15

    @jl:

    From Josh Marshall’s twitter feed, looks like Trump’s pubic announcement was by tweet.

    That’s the way the Government announces stuff now.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Some people know their way around the internet. Some don’t. All I got to say.
    This is the age niche media products.

    Edit: your micro-aggression against the ex-tanker canning addict community is noted.

  17. 17
    mrmoshpotato says:

    🎶Sun soakin’ bulges in the shade🎶

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @clay: I have wonder if someone wrote that tweet for Trump. Seems remarkably coherent and comprehensible. No frenzy or disorientation evident.

  19. 19
    Humdog says:

    John, have you tried using nut milk bags instead of cheesecloth when you strain the jam? The holes are smaller and you can reuse the bags after laundering.

  20. 20
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @jl: Bill should know the ex-tanker canning addict community is easily offended.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: You don’t know that.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @clay:

    Even though it’s been over two years, I still sometimes have trouble accepting that this is actually happening.

    Herman Cain (picked from TV) was MORE qualified for the Federal reserve board than Rick Perry was for Secretary of Energy. Now ask yourself, which one is responsible for nukes?

  23. 23
    ChrisH says:

    You need your own theme song.

    Canning…….with Johnnnn…….canning.,.. with Johnnnm

  24. 24
    Anonymous At Work says:

    @mrmoshpotato: I wouldn’t be worried about the “easily offended” part as much as the “used to work with explosives professionally and knows basic chemistry and cooking techniques” part of the equation.

    That being said, do we need a blogger intervention?

  25. 25
    patroclus says:

    LOL. John Ratcliffe goes down. Resume-enhancing liar with virtually no intelligence (experience) ain’t going to be DNI.

  26. 26
    John Cole says:

    @Mary G: Tammy is not here I TOOK THEM DAMNIT.

  27. 27

    @John Cole: This needs a video. Start a YouTube channel.

  28. 28
    Tata says:

    Wait – what are you doing with the peels?

  29. 29
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    This needs a video. Start a YouTube channel.

    I was just about to post the same thing!!

  30. 30
    donnah says:

    John, I’m amazed and dazzled by your canning skills. It reinforces my belief that I will never be a canner, but I admire you for doing it, using every scrap, and sharing what you’ve made and how you did it.

    I could learn, but my kitchen is already a part time wool-dyeing facility, and I’m content with having mastered that skill. Go forth and preserve!

  31. 31
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I love this!! Good job, John. I’d love to do this to make peach pies.

  32. 32
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @schrodingers_cat: That’s what I say too. John already has a YouTube channel do these cooking tutorials would fit right in.

  33. 33

    @clay: Trump is really good at convincing himself someone else is to blame if his nominee fails: the Ds, the press, the nominee themselves.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    John Cole’s canning skills are, well, uncanny.

  35. 35
    HRA says:

    I am really enjoying you sharing these tutorials on preserving. I am looking forward to the sauerkraut post today.
    If anything you have got me interested in going back out to the country to visit the small store grocers and the farm stands. I had to cancel today’s plans when I realized the yearly corn festival was opening up today.

  36. 36
    patroclus says:

    The Lib Dems’ by-election W in mid-Wales cuts BoJo’s majority to just 1 and some Tory Remainers are considering switching parties.

  37. 37
    laura says:

    I like to poach peaches in a simple syrup just off the simmer with a splash of bourbon and dash of vanilla. Serve with ice cream and mint.
    But this cannapolooza looks very ambitious and tempting.

  38. 38
    debbie says:

    Good god, you must have a powerful air conditioner. I can’t imagine how much heat is being generated with all four burners ablaze.

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    Is there a better way to describe communications from President Dickhead?

    Them are some fine lookin’ peaches. I want several, with syrup, atop vanilla bean gelato, stat!

  40. 40
    Cathie Fonz says:

    In the last thread, I was asked for my mom’s pickle recipes.
    Here is one called “Queen of Pickles”: Chop 2 quarts large unpeeled cucumbers, 1 quart onions and 1 cauliflower. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup salt and let stand overnight. Drain well. Add 3 green peppers and 3 red peppers, chopped.
    Make a dressing by combining 3 cups sugar, 2/3 cups flour, 1/2 tbsp mustard seed, 1 tbsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp celery salt. Gradually add 1 quart vinegar. Heat to boiling and stir until smooth.
    Add all of the chopped vegetables and cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
    Here is her Hot Dog Relish:
    Mix 2 cups ground green tomatoes with 2 cups ground cucumbers and 2 cups ground onions. Mix in 1/3 cup salt. Let stand overnight and drain. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar,1 1/2 cups vinegar, 1/4 tsp pepper and whole spices in a bag. Cook until soft.
    I loved her Bread and Butter Pickles:
    Slice 1 gallon unpeeled cucumbers and 1 large onion. Make a dressing by combining 3 cups vinegar and 3 cups sugar with 1 tbsp each salt, celery seed, mustard seed and turmeric. Cook the dressing, add the cukes and onion, bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes.
    Dad liked her Beet Relish, which doesn’t have to be cooked:
    Combine 1 quart each cooked beets and raw cabbage, chopped, with 1 tbsp horseradish (or more) 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp each salt and pepper, dash of cayenne and enough vinegar to mix everything well (approx 1 1/2 cups). Seal cold.
    Also try her Cucumber relish
    Chop 9 large peeled cucumbers and 4 large onions. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup salt and let stand overnight. Drain and chop smaller. Make a dressing by combining 2 1/2 cups each of vinegar and water with 3 cups sugar. Add 1/2 cup flour and 1 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp celery seed, 1 tbsp mustard seed, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp ginger. Cook until thick, add the cucumber and onion, and cook 5 minutes.

    So that will be enough to keep everyone going!

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @rikyrah:

    He can do cobblers and crisps year round now! Just open a jar and …

  42. 42
    debbie says:

    @jl:

    Actually, I heard reporting that he was told to prove himself before the hearing. His performance was the audition.

  43. 43
    trollhattan says:

    @debbie:
    We had to replace our range recently and the gas burners are MUCH larger than the old unit and can throw an ungodly amount of heat in no time at all. Luckily they have very fine simmer control and one burner can simmer from an inner ring. With that said the spouse tends to use them digitally, from off to kill and nothing in between. It’s interesting to watch with a little 4-inch pan.

  44. 44
    zhena gogolia says:

    @jl:

    Trump’s pubic announcement was by tweet.

    So glad I missed that.

    ETA: SD beat me to it! that typo never gets old.

  45. 45
    Cathie Fonz says:

    @Cathie Fonz: I should note, I haven’t cooked all of these pickle recipes myself, so I don’t know if the spice proportions are to everyone’s taste. YMMV. But I do love looking at these old recipe cards because they are in my mom’s handwriting, with scribbles on the side where she adjusted the ingredient proportions over the years, stained with the drops of vinegar and steam as they sat on her counter while she was cooking.

  46. 46
    debbie says:

    @trollhattan:

    I bet! My apartment has one of those ceramic-top stoves. Hate it, none of the burners match up very well to any of my pans. The bottoms of my Revereware aren’t very flat anymore.

  47. 47
    jl says:

    Are we sure Cole took those pix? Just wondering. They look really nice.

  48. 48
    John Cole says:

    @debbie: No. It’s fucking hot as hell in he kitchen.

  49. 49

    @debbie:

    Good god, you must have a powerful air conditioner. I can’t imagine how much heat is being generated with all four burners ablaze.

    This is the thing I love the most about my induction range. Something like 80% of the heat it puts out makes it into the pan vs. about 30% for a typical gas burner. That means much less waste heat turning the kitchen into an inferno in the summer.

  50. 50
    debbie says:

    @Roger Moore:

    You are lucky. I have, however, figured out how to nuke corn on the cob so I’m set for the summer!

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    Does anyone watch the CBS Summer Fluff Adventure series Blood and Treasure?
    I’m surprised that I like it as much as I do.
    If anyone else watches:
    I was surprised by the turn of events last night. I never saw him being the truly bad guy, over it all. When he killed the woman at the end, I was like ….WHAT?

  52. 52
    James E Powell says:

    In the Kitchen with John – I’d watch that show.

  53. 53
    James E Powell says:

    @Cathie Fonz:

    For the Bread & Butter Pickles, how long do you cook the dressing before adding the cucumbers?

  54. 54
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    My jaw is on the floor at Liz Cheney’s sheer white privilege and utter arrogance in claiming that “native tribes” are destroying “our Western way of life” What the everloving F**K?

  55. 55
    jl says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Our traditional strip mining ceremonies go back for many generations….

  56. 56
    Van Buren says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: How do you make a simple syrup without sugar? Did I miss something?

  57. 57
    jl says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Pouring arsenic and mercury into the streams is an essential part of our worship of the almighty dollar…

  58. 58
    AThornton says:

    They told me the name of the peach but I will be damned if I can remember.

    James?

    Ralph?

    Stephanie?

  59. 59
  60. 60
    joel hanes says:

    @Cathie Fonz:

    My excellent aunt used to do special peach pickles and watermelon rind pickles, which were only served at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @Cole:

    What is your recipe for simple syrup, if you’re not using sugar?

    @Van Buren:

    Yeah, what you said.

  62. 62
    Cathie Fonz says:

    @James E Powell: A few minutes, maybe 5, mainly to cook the flour I think. I haven’t made these in a while, and these days I would omit the flour because our daughter in law is gluten-intolerant, so I am thinking likely cornstarch would work instead.

  63. 63
    Cathie Fonz says:

    @joel hanes: What a good idea! My mother – the whole family really – was very “traditional” when it came to pickles and fruits etc — the closest a fruit ever got to pickling was in her tomato relish. I would think her recipes were passed on down from her own mother, and maybe from some of the other ladies on nearby farms or in the church circles.
    I was thinking just the other day, what a different world it is now for cooks, because its so easy just to look things up online and find something new to try — not a luxury that my mother had. As I remember it, her only real cookbook was Joy of Cooking, plus she had sets of pamphlets from canning companies and flour companies etc.

  64. 64
    James E Powell says:

    @Cathie Fonz:

    Thank you. I’m going to try some of these.

  65. 65
    MoxieM says:

    Yum. Didn’t some black raspberries appear a little while ago? Combined on a meringue shell with some whipped cream and I’d call that heaven. ‘Course it’s been too damned humid for meringues, but come fall …

  66. 66
    HinTN says:

    @Cathie Fonz: The Joy of Cooking remains my go to resource. When I left home mama gave me a copy, which I still have.

  67. 67
    J R in WV says:

    My grandma used to make chow-chow from green tomatoes in the fall, harvesting the last set of tomatoes before the first frost. Also a little celery, some red pepper for looks, and some giant flat lima beans, dill spice, boil on the stove top, jar it up and water bath those pickles in quart mason jars.

    We ate it mostly with pinto beans and cornbread. Really good, I suspect another pensey-dutch recipe. I do not have an actual recipe, we made it with her a couple of years, standard pickle proportions. Salt and a little sugar, not too much. Cloves in the dill spice mix. She used a big flat wash basin to boil 2 or 3 gallons on the stove top.

  68. 68
    Ivan X says:

    Mother of Christ all these posts about canning peaches. I guess someone has to can them, or how else could I buy them, in our transactional culture?

  69. 69

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