Friday, August 19, 2011

Canning Peaches is Easy! (No Sugar.)

In 1976 I was expecting our 3rd child. We lived in rural Nebraska, renting a house on a farm there. That is where I had my first garden, and that is where I learned to can food. Money was always in short supply, but we made it. My husband has always provided for us, and has worked very hard through the years. Now he is "retired" and he still works very hard here at home keeping us afloat. His "list" just gets longer and longer.

In those days, we only went grocery shopping once a month. I clearly recall finding some "lugs" of fresh peaches at the grocery store and we bought 2 of them for me to can. What riches! I had a nice canning instruction book and so, I canned them. The only problem was my little daughter, who was not yet 2-years-old, picked that day to be very unhappy. I put her in my baby back-pack and proceeded. I remember telling her that if she watched carefully, then next year I would let her can the peaches! I didn't realize until I finally sat down to rest that afternoon that she was sick. She had a fever and I discovered she had chicken pox. Poor little thing! I had many opportunities to be grateful for those peaches. Toward the end of the month, we would nearly run out of food, and the 2 little children I had at the time ate many a meal filled out with home-canned peaches.

Years later, a friend told me how to can peaches without using any sugar. Basically, you do it the same as for tomatoes. And now I will show you how.

First, get some peaches and let them get ripe:



Here is how to check for ripeness. Press your thumb into the flesh of the peach near the stem. If it is getting soft, it is getting ripe. Eat one to be sure it is as ripe as you want it to be. If it is not ripe enough, the skin will be difficult to take off:



Carefully wash and rinse your jars. I used pint jars this time, but you can also use quarts, if you like:



Put the "caps" in a small pan of water on the stove and bring to just below simmer. Let them sit there, keeping hot, while you get ready to use them:



Bring a large saucepan filled 3/4 with water to a boil:



Fill the sink with cold water:



You will need a sharp little paring knife:



Get the "rings" ready:



This is what I use to lift the caps from the hot water. It has a magnet on the end. But before I had this, I always fished them out with the tine of a fork:



You will need a large slotted spoon:



Carefully put some peaches into the boiling water and leave the heat on high for about 20 seconds:



Take them out with the slotted spoon:



And put them in the cold water:



Using your paring knife to help, slip the skins off the peaches. This is not a very good picture of the process, but you will see how easy and quick it is.  If the skins don't slip off easily, either the peaches are not ripe enough, or you need to scald them a little longer.



Next, cut the peach in half, twist the two halves apart and remove the pit:



Place the peeled peaches, in halves or pieces (depending on the size and fit) into the jars:



I like to use wide-mouth jars, but if I don't have enough, I use regular mason jars and use this red thing to push them down. I think it came along with my Victorio Strainer. If you have wide-mouth jars, you can easily push the peaches down with your hand. The idea is to push them gently until the juice comes up some. I was able to fit 2 - 3 peaches in each jar:



Here is a full jar. When it is filled up to the bottom of the jar threads, carefully wipe off the rim of the jar with a damp clean cloth, put on the cap and screw on the ring firmly. Not too tight!



Here is one full and closed, ready to process:



Here are 10 pint jars in my steam canner. You can use a water bath canner, of course.



When the water is boiling in the water bath canner, then start counting the time. They need 25 minutes for pints and 30 minutes for quarts. Here they are after coming out of the canner.



Incidentally, leaving the sugar syrup out has advantages. It's less expensive to do, healthier of course, and they really do taste marvelous! They kind of remind me more of canned apricots after being canned like this in their own juice. You will love it! It is also much easier and quicker to do.

I have found that when canning anything, once you get your "system" set up, it's easy. Think it through carefully, prepare everything you'll need and proceed. Enjoy!

This post is linked at Wardeh's Simple Lives Thursday #57 !

84 comments:

  1. Yolanda, I love it when you tell about when the kids were young and how you got by.
    Can you take a picture of your steam canner please? If the picture you posted was of it, it is a lot different than mine and I'd be interested to see it. I love my steam canner and got rid of my boiling water bath canners, so much easier on the back.
    debbieo

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  2. Yes, that is my steam canner. Here is what I have. It costs more than some, but is a lot nicer, too. A bit more sturdy and it has a temperature guage in the top that makes it a bit more accurate, perhaps. Anyway, I do like it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Victorio-VKP1055-Stainless-Dual-Use-Canner/dp/B002AHDVYS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1314009655&sr=8-2

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  3. Wait, so no liquid in the jar except for the little bit of peach juice? I do believe you just blew my mind. ;-d

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  4. :) Yes, Sarah. I add nothing but the peaches. They do have to be squished down a bit so you can get the jar nice and full. If you don't fill the jar, then you'll end up with lots of space at the top and the peaches will float up above the liquid. I hope you'll be ok. ;)

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  5. WOW! I am going to be doing my annual peach canning in a few weeks and always cringe at the amount of sugar i go through. I am going to do this method! thanks :) Any recipes for peach jam without so much sugar? My recipe calls for 4 cups peach puree and 5 cups of sugar. YIKES!

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  6. Can you do the same thing with pears?

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  7. There is a sugar-free pectin that you can buy:

    http://www.amazon.com/Pomonas-Universal-Pectin-1-Ounce-Container/dp/B001IZICO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314149618&sr=8-1

    I have never tried it with pears, but if your pears and ripe and soft and you don't mind squishing them, I'd give it a try! Good luck and let me know how it goes, please!

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  8. I did it. I got 10 boxes of peaches and tried your method. It was SO easy! It took me about 6 hours to get all 10 boxes done. Now I have enough peaches for a full year and some yummy jam. I tried the Pomonas Universal Pectin and did no sugar jam. We love it. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I am SO happy for you! That is wonderful!

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  10. My first time canning peaches, is it really okay to not add anything at all ?? I'm very confused. Please tell me.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it really is just fine not to add anything at all. I've done this several times and we love the peaches this way.

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  11. oh, thank you so much! We are on the GAPS diet, so no sugar for us, and I had heard rumors of being able to can peaches without sugar but I hadn't actually been able to find any recipes. I can't wait to try this out for my three little ones. :)

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  12. I really would like to try this. I usually freeze them. I need to know if you used anything to keep them from darkening. Ascorbic acid or lemon juice?

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    1. No. The only thing in the jars is peaches!

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    2. p.s. I blogged about this again this year here:

      http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2012/07/am-repeating-this-post-from-last-year.html

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    3. Can you please tell me if the sealed jars need to be completely submerged in the water? Or only a certain amount?

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    4. Yes, they do. And don't start counting the processing time until the water has come to a full boil with the jars in it. The water should be an inch above the jars.

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    5. Hi! This sounds amazing & so much easier!!! Have you tried it with Apricots? I have a couple boxes ready to do.... Thanks! ~Angela

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    6. I have never done it with apricots, but if I were going to try it, I would NOT peel them first. Otherwise, I can't imagine that it wouldn't work! Please let me know!

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  13. Panic Question!
    I've got tons of peaches to can and hope you can respond quickly. I read other recipes that recommend leaving the skin on because it is part of where the 'food' and 'nutrients' are. Can I just do as you say but leave the skin on and if not, why not?

    I would really appreciate an answer as soon as you can. Thanks so much for the recipe! You've done a great service to we canners!

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    1. Tess, I've never done that, but it would not hurt anything to do it. Then if you don't like the skins in the canned product, they would be easy to remove. Go for it!

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    2. p.s. I never remove skins from apricots, after all.

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    3. Thanks so much for the answer! Have a great weekend. We will be knee deep in peaches that we just picked yesterday. The entire kitchen smells of peaches!

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    4. You are very welcome! Peaches! Heaven! Enjoy. :)

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  14. Just wanted to give an update on doing this with leaving the skins on. . . We are all experimenting and learning right?

    What I would say is by the time that you blanch them and put them in ice water and start to handle them, some of the skin just really falls off anyway. Unless it did that, I just left the skin on.

    I also used a little bit of the 'fruit fresh' stuff just to be on the safe side and just sprinkled in on the sliced peaches before they went into the jars.

    Then they went in just like yours and the only difference if there is one is that it is a bit darker inside now and again because of the peach skins which looks pretty.

    This morning all my lids have popped (I love hearing that sound!) and they look beautiful. We have just as many peaches to do today so we are also going to can some very low sugar peach pie mixture.

    Thanks so much for your recipe!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it worked out! If you don't want to skin them, there is no need to blanch them!

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    2. Thanks for pointing that out.

      I figured that out today when I was making the peach pie recipe. There are even more skins in the peach pie with syrup also with almost no sugar.

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    3. I surely would love it if you could share your recipe!

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  15. If I wanted to add bourbon to this, would I need to change anything or could I just add it to the jars?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I really don't know! Sorry, I can't help you with that.

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  16. how long will fish stay fresh without salt?

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    Replies
    1. Fresh or cooked fish, kept under refrigeration, I never keep it longer than 3 days. I don't know what salt would do.

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  17. This will be my first time to can peaches. I was diagnosed with Diabetes 4 years ago and this would be perfect for me. How long can you keep them without refrigeration?
    Esther from British Columbia, Canada.

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    Replies
    1. Foods that have been properly processed will keep a LONG time, in a cool dark place. If you can these peaches, and be sure to process them long enough in a water bath canner, put them on a shelf somewhere that it doesn't get very hot and won't freeze, and hopefully in the dark (you can cover them to make the darkness). Home canned fruit is still good for 2 years. Good luck!

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  18. Hi,
    I was wondering how long before you can eat them?

    Thanks,

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  19. I was taught to gently put the peaches in the jar.... Is the pushing them to break down the peach and create more juice, or to fill the jar more? I noticed last year that I often have half a jar or so of juice before I added the simple syrup... How much liquid do you have in the jars before you do the water bath?

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    Replies
    1. It is both. If you push just enough, you can get the natural juice to cover the peaches and the jar will be as full as it should.

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  20. Hi, I have just done this now as it sounds awesome. However, I did not have enough peaches to fill my jars. They have been in the water bath for 25mins now, but there is no juice in the bottles. What can I do? Will is still taste the same? This is my very first time canning. I dont think my peaches were ripe enough?

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    Replies
    1. Your peaches will taste the same although they might darken in the jars with it not being full enough. I've had that happen too. Were you able to blanch them and get the skins off? If so, surely they were ripe enough. Please let me know, ok? And good luck!

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  21. I wonder if it would be OK to juice some peaches so you wouldn't have to squish the peaches you put in the jar and still have no sugar. I haven't started canning because I am so scared of killing my husband and I. My grandma use to can and I wish she lived closer to show me. I have been looking for advice from experienced caners making sure I do things right.

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    Replies
    1. That would be wonderful. In fact, here is a blog post where I canned clingstone peaches and did just that: http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2012/10/canning-clingstone-peaches-without.html

      Please don't be afraid of canning peaches. If they were "bad" they would have mold on top, so you would not eat them. Just get a good canning guide, such as, the Ball Blue Book, study it, and you will be good to go. Also, I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

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  22. Thank you for this! I can't wait to show my sister and brother-in-law and get canning! I was thinking, if we decide to go the blanching/peeling route, (I honestly don't know how my sis feels about leaving the peels on.) We could set up the crock pot gently boiling on high, and have a blanching station near the ice filled sink, and the other work table to chop and fill jars, while the rest of the kitchen could be using the stove to process.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! I hope your crock pot idea works... I am concerned that when you put in the peaches, it might take too long to get back up to temperature between batches. If you can, please let me know how that works! Good luck!

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  23. I'm going to go pick peaches to can tomorrow - YAY! Last time I used a light sugar syrup, but this time I'm going to use this method. When I buy canned fruit I almost always buy fruit canned in juice instead of syrup, so I don't know why I wouldn't just do the same thing when I can my own, haha.

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    1. I am surprised that you did not add lemon juice to avoid darkening. Do you ever have problems with the peaches discoloring?
      '

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    2. Only if I don't fill the jars well enough. :)

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  24. So there is no water in the jar or anything?

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  25. Thank you for this recipe! I am canning peaches for the first time tomorrow and did not want to use extra sugar, the peaches are delicious on their own! My ball canning book instructs the use of lemon juice to prevent darkening, have you ever had a problem with any of yours darkening? I'm hoping to give some away as gifts this year and would hate it if the color had darkened. Thanks again!

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    1. Leigh-Ann, they do not darken if I fill the jars sufficiently AND as I blanch and peel the peaches I put them DIRECTLY into the jars, not into a bowl or something where they have to wait. Good luck!

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  26. I am very excited about canning peaches without adding sugar! Here's my questions: 1) do I have to get all the air out from between the peaches, just like the Ball Blue Book says to do? And 2) do you add lemon juice to the jar?

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    1. As you blanch, pit and peel the peaches, place them immediately into the jar and as you go, press them down enough to make juice cover it all. There will be no air. No. No lemon juice. If you fill the jars sufficiently, and put the peaches in AS you peel them, there will be no darkening. I add NOTHING. Good luck!

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  27. I remember my mother use to can around this time of the year,She caned everything from fruits to veggies,and she threw away nothing,she would use the outer skin and the core to make jelly and preserves. Today for the first time I'm caning peaches and making peach preserves,I was looking for a short cut instead of taking all day,this one works for me, thank you. If the results are good, I'll be making apple sauce, apple pie filling, and apple jelly. Thanks again...

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  28. Hello! Great blog! Have yet to can my first fruit and will try thus weekend . I have been doing a lot of research first. This is the first blog that has had very simple easy and smart instructions and is current. I wanted to know if this method is applicable to most fruits with skin like figs or plums. Also, can you just add the peaches without squishing them and cover with water? Thanks in advance. :)

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    1. Hi Valerie! Thank you. :) If you don't squish the peaches, but add water, it would work, but they won't be as flavorful. I am sure it would work as well with plums, but I've never had fresh figs so don't even know what they are like. If they are juicy like peaches and plums, I imagine this method would be fine. Please visit again, and let me know what you do and how it turns out.

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    2. Hi there. This is exactly what I wanted to do with my peaches, since I'm already up to my ears in jam. :) Not to stick my nose in, but being a new canner, I've been reading up on it. Acidic fruits are okay to water-bath can (peaches being one of them), but non-acidic foods (and figs are apparently so) can allow the development of botulism, which is exceedingly dangerous. Those are only safe in a pressure canner, where the temperature can be brought up high enough to kill the bacteria. This is a good overall reference for canning if you don't have a book. http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/348/348-594/348-594_pdf.pdf Thanks again for the great "recipe"!

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  29. What a great instructional blog!! I've canned applesauce, pickles, relish, and salsa but tomorrow I'm canning peaches for the first time. Love how you talk about your family in the early years. I'm pregnantwith #4 and making similar memories. Thank you for writing this, but more importantly thank you for answering all of those questions over the past 3 years that people have asked .... It cleared up all of mine!

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    1. Thank, you, Katie! Good luck with your peaches!

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  30. Just picked peaches off of our tree today. I was looking for new ideas for canning peaches and found your blog!! WOW no adding simple syrup. I can't wait to try this. I love the idea of sugar free. Hope this comes out to take like a peach right off of the tree.

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  31. I had two jars break in the canner right off the bat. Why would that happen?

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    1. Kelly, from time to time, in all of my canning, a jar breaks. I can only conclude that it must have been a crack or some other flaw in the jar. Are you using real Mason jars, or something else like old mayo jars? Be sure to check each jar before using for flaws. I am so sorry that happened! Such a waste and disappointment.

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    2. I just wondered if I had filled too full. It was so weird both in one batch. I also wondered if possibly the batch was boiling to hard because I did end up turning them down. The rest went fine except I don't think I got my jars full enough :(. Lot of juice in the bottom and floating peaches. They are ok if I store upside down. Great recipe thanks so much. I didn't do halves but I think I would like to try that hoping they would be just a little firmer

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    3. It is important to fill the jars well... leaving that 1 inch head space. Floating peaches is ok, if the jars are full.. They do that in any case. I hope you can figure it all out and things will go perfectly next time!

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  32. I echo the thanks of others for answering all of these questions! I'm still a little confused on the no-peal method. If you don't peal, then you don't blanch, right? So you just take a fresh, ripe peach and cut it in two and seed it and stack it in the jar? It seems that there won't be enough juice to cover the peaches as you have described necessary. Please advice! Thanks.

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    1. Wildbynature, I have always peeled my peaches, but if you wanted to not peel them, I am sure you could still use this method. Pushing them down into the jar kind of squishes them, but if they are sufficiently ripe, there will be plenty of juice. You're welcome! Try one jarful NOT peeling them, and see how it works out! If it doesn't work as you wish, then peel the others and eat the first one. :D

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  33. Is there any way to can peaches without boiling the jars? I can tomatoes with the no boil method, can you do the same for peaches? I do not have a "canner" so what else would work?

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    1. Actually, there is. I have a friend who used to "open kettle" can peaches. I cannot vouch for this, but you would not be in any danger. If some of the jars fail, the peaches will mold, but you will see that and discard them. It's like this. Boil your jars and keep them in the hot water until you are ready to fill them. Boil the caps and rings too and keep them hot. Blanch and peel the peaches. Bring them to a boil also. One at a time, fill the jars with hot, cooked peaches, wipe rims quickly and carefully, apply caps and rings and let them seal on their own. Good luck!

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  34. I made these peaches and am moving on to tomatoes and pears. Any suggestion?

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    1. Here is how I do pears. I do use sugar, though: http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2010/10/canning-pears.html

      Also, here is my pear sauce: http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2010/10/pears-revisited.html

      Dried pears: http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2010/10/dried-pears.html

      Canning pears with honey: http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2011/11/i-thought-canning-season-was-over.html

      Also, tomatoes are done just like the sugar-free peaches. Blanch, peel and core, add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to each quart jar, stuff full of the tomatoes, clean rims, apply hot caps and rings, process in boiling water for 50 minutes after it comes to a rolling boil. That's it!

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  35. Loves2spin, thank you, so much, for this blog! I am new to canning, but it is important to me to become better experienced because I use preserved fruit to sweeten my little boys' hot cereal (Cream of Wheat and oatmeal). He loves it, and I am grateful for that, because I do not want him to grow up adding sugar and butter to everything, so I'm working to "train" his tastes and cravings now. I bought peaches yesterday, and they are super ripe, so I need to work with them today. I want to can them using your method, but I'd like to dice them instead so that the pieces are small enough to mix well into the cereal. I'm sure that I could just cut them up into smaller pieces before using them, and I will if you think it's best, but with a toddler, you know that quicker is always better! Do you think it will be okay for me to dice them carefully (as to not lose all of the juice to the cutting board!), and still be able to pack them tightly enough to give me very full jars? If not, I could always use some no-sugar pectin, but I would LOVE to use nothing but the peaches in their own juice!

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I am glad my blog is helpful. I can't really say about if dicing your peaches is a good plan. I think I would leave them whole and cute them up when needed. I'm afraid they'd just turn to mush otherwise. Also, I applaud your decision to leave sugar out of your child's food, but I disagree about the butter. Butter is necessary for good health. The best, of course, is from grass fed dairy animals, but if that is too expensive or not available, real butter from the grocery store is a wholesome food for your family. Please take time to read this article: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/skinny-on-fats

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    2. Yes, I know you are right about the butter, but we get more than our share of that around here! I just think too much of a good thing is bad, and I want him to continue to enjoy hot cereal and not be like me in that area... I have a hard time enjoying it without butter, and always feel like something is missing. I will read the article, and I think mush may not be bad for this purpose since it will be "mushed" into the cereal anyway to spread throughout, but I will make it as you've suggested, and just take a potato masher to it when I get ready to use it! Besides, doing it this way will leave the peaches intact just in case I decide to do something else with them! Thank you, so much. U r 1 rockin' grandma:->. Bless you and your family.

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  36. If I do not have a canner, but have a big pot can I hot water process in that and do I need to put something on the bottom of the pot so the jars are not sitting directly on the bottom of the pot; my thought would be just a towel or cloth of some kind to keep them off the bottom of the pot

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    1. Yes! Use any kettle with a lid that will allow the water to cover the jars, and yes, you can use a dish towel or some such thing in the bottom of the kettle. :)

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    2. I saw a photo where someone made a makeshift rack out of extra rings from the jars lined up across the bottom of the kettle

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  37. I have always used diluted frozen 100% fruit juice over my canned fruit. Fruit fresh is mostly sugar.I use a splash of vinegar in cooling water and 1/4 tsp of crushed vitamin C or ascorbic acid in each jar.It melts with the processing.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent suggestions! I do remember using vinegar years ago before I started doing it with no additions at all.

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  38. This recipe looks wonderful. I did my tomatoes this way and they are so much better (and easier) when processed in their own juices. Do I need to adjust the processing time if I am at 5,000 ft elevation?

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    1. At 5,000 feet, process your peaches in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. Good luck!

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