Life’s a peach – 2 things I didn’t know about peaches and preserving

OK, this is an embarrassing post – but it’s an important community service that is contained within.  I will swallow my pride (:)) for the greater good…

I used 15 liters (16 quarts of peaches) for jam and other preserves last year.  This year I used 24 liters (25 quarts).  Peaches are very affordable in bulk – I tried to buy 15 liters this year, was encouraged to buy 21 liters as that was $4 more and the kind farmer threw 6 liters more in – total price was $23.

My previous experience with peaches was made up of eating them fresh or from a tin can.  I made two painful mistakes that you can learn from (or, perhaps, already know):

  1. Buy freestone peaches.  I didn’t do this last year.  They can be smaller than their counterpart but they have a wonderful feature – their pits remove relatively easily.
  2. Peeling peaches.  Peels get tough in preserving – thus this is an important part.  Potato peelers get clogged.  My pairing knife wasn’t great – I was taking as much peach as I was taking peel – however practice paid off.  I was fairly proud of my much improved knife skills this year until I recently learned that there was no reason to use a knife.  You can peel peaches by blanching them for less than a minute in boiling water and then cooling them in cold water (the same way I’ve done tomatoes).  It’s a quick instant peel.  D’oh.

Live and learn – hopefully this will help some of you or give others a laugh at my expense.  Lifes a peach   2 things I didnt know about peaches and preserving

Comments

  1. The blanching-then-peeling thing also works for peppers and almonds, including the “almonds” inside peaches. Such a great thing to discover! Freestone not clingstone also a good message.

    • I have used for peppers but never thought of them as you describe for almonds….clever stuff and makes sharing my failings more worthwhile :) Thanks Sarah!

  2. Another question for which a helpful tip would be most welcome: How do you prevent the peaches from floating to the top of the jar, leaving an inch of liquid at the bottom?
    We hot-packed the peaches, pushed in as many as we could, used a spatula to release the air, topped each jar with the very light (hot) syrup, used the spatula again, processed them in the canner – all as recommended in multiple sets of instructions. And yet, they float. Some mention that this is not an issue if they are properly processed and the seals hold; the only adverse result may be some discoloration. Nonetheless, I would like to prevent this next time. Any suggestions?

    • ANu, I will put some thought into this and get some ideas up for sure – important thing is that discoloration is indeed the only risk after a good seal. You can still minimize this by storing the jars upside down from time to time and mixing them around. What type of jars did you use?

      • Hi Joel -
        I used Bernardin 500 ml jars with snap lids, which sealed perfectly. We had the same thing happen with the peaches we canned. Interestingly, I have been trolling internet sites and have found photos of jars processed by experienced canners – several appear to me to have the same issue. In today’s Globe and Mail story on canning one jar in the photo looks like ours do!

        (Best wishes for a most successful canning day!)
        Anu

      • PS: When I wrote “peaches” in the last post, I meant to write “tomatoes”.
        Anu

  3. One thing I absolutely love about your blog is that you cover so many of the mistakes I’ve made. And probably mistakes I would have made if I hadn’t read your blog.

    I had an absolute breakdown while trying to make Spiced Peach slices. I didn’t know about Freestones and all my peaches ended up being mush…so I made jam instead. It was still disappointing. But now I don’t feel alone. :)

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful comment – it truly made me (and us) feel so special. We all make mistakes – let’s celebrate them and learn from each other!

  4. I have a serrated vegetable peeler that’s made by OXO, and it works great for peaches and tomatoes. Here’s a link to it:
    http://www.oxo.com/OA_HTML/xxoxo_ibeCCtpOXOPrdDtl.jsp?section=10054&item=48395&minisite=10024&respid=53057

  5. Isn’t it amazing when you learn something new that it suddenly appears everywhere? I JUST learned about the difference between clingstone and freestone from my sister last week!

    And you’re right, it’s way easier to remove the pit from freestone peaches!

    I recently used a razor sharp paring knife to peel a peach because I didn’t have easy access to a stove or boiling water. I was amazed that it worked (my mom always told us to peel peaches using the blanching method).

    • Elizabeth, I am so with you on that one. Life has a funny way of working things out like that – It makes me wonder what things I am encountering all the time without noticing :)

  6. Jessica W says:

    My gran would put a single pit in the bottom of her jars and a slice of orange on the top to keep them from floating up….

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Preserved – if you're working with peaches this season, Joel has a couple of useful tips. addthis_url = [...]

  2. [...] in regards to peaches and how to stop them from floating (you can see the thread and Anus question here).  We use the same trick for peaches as we do for pickles so I thought I might be able to share a [...]

  3. [...] ultimate gaffe was peeling peaches.  They need to be peeled and for 2 years I used a paring knife.  I peeled more than 30 quarts of [...]

  4. [...] by peeling peaches.  The quantity is up to you but know that it takes about 2.5 pounds to fill a quart [...]

  5. [...] in regards to peaches and how to stop them from floating (you can see the thread and Anus question here).  We use the same trick for peaches as we do for pickles so I thought I might be able to share a [...]

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