Glass jar canning is one of the most common forms of preserving produce, especially since the introduction of the mason jar in the mid-19th century. And the hot water bath method is easier then you might think!
Typically this method uses a simple syrup with a white sugar and water combination. I use honey simple syrup in my recipe because I like the taste better and I like the benefits of the honey. If you prefer, you can substitute sugar for the honey.
If you’ve never tried canning, don’t be intimidated! It is actually quite easy. It’s also a really fun activity to try with friends.
Jars with lids and rings (I prefer the quart-size Ball jar collection for this recipe)
Stock pot with lid (21 quart is a good size)
Can rack (7 jar)
Magnetic lid lifter
If you are just starting out, you can purchase a kit with all of the accessories. Just add the jars you want.
Safety and hygiene are important and serious components of canning. Make sure that all of your equipment and jars are sufficiently sterilized prior to use. This can be done by running them through the hot cycle of your dishwasher. Avoid any kind of cross contamination and make sure your hands are clean.
After you’ve processed the jars, if the lid of a sealed jar pops up, get rid of it. If you ever notice something growing in your jar, throw out the entire jar. If you have any concerns about something you canned, do not take a chance, just get rid of it. If you are a novice, start with the easier recipes. Do not use recipes from cookbooks that were written prior to 1994 as modern protocols focus on safety. Food preserved in jars should be used within 18 months of preparation. Always remember that you’re better safe then sorry, especially when it comes to food safety!
10 c water
1 ¾ c honey (option to sub with 2 c sugar)
17 lbs of fresh yellow peaches
Run jars, lids, and equipment through a hot dishwasher cycle. Place lids in a container of boiling hot water while preparing jars. Fill the canning stock pot two thirds of the way up with water and begin boiling to make the water bath.
In a separate pot, boil water and blanche peaches for 1 minute. Then place them in an ice bath for a minute. This process makes the peaches easier to peel. Once they are cooled, begin peeling, pitting and slicing.
In another pot make simple syrup. Bring water and honey (or sugar) to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the sweetener has dissolved. Turn the boil off, but keep syrup warm.
Using the funnel, fill each jar with peaches, leaving 1 inch of head space. Add syrup through the funnel, enough so that the peaches are covered. There should now be about ½ inch of head space in the jar. Make sure you remove any air bubbles in the jar by rubbing a spatula between the fruit and the jar. Once the air bubbles are removed, add more syrup so there is still ½ inch of head space. Wipe jar rim clean with a paper towel and use magnetic lid lifter to place the lid on the jar securely. Then screw ring on.
Place the 7 jars on the can rack and put the full rack in place in the water bath. All 7 jars should be completely submerged in the boiling water. Cover pot and boil for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and carefully remove jars from water with jar lifter. Allow jars to cool for a couple of hours. At this point the lids should be sealed. If the lids are concave in the middle they are sealed. If you press the middle of the lid and it pops back up then it is not sealed. If for some reason one of your jars did not seal, put it in the refrigerator. Make sure you mark your jars with the date they are stored. The sealed jars should be stored in a dark pantry for up to 18 months.
You’ll find that many recipes for preserved jarred foods are called “Putting Up” goods (including Barbara’s tomato sauce). This is because after they are sealed, they are “put up” on the shelf and forgotten about until the weather turns. So now is the perfect time for “putting up” your jars.