Peach and Pear Preserves
Have I mentioned before that I have a serious love for jars? And, I think food in jars just looks better than any other style of preservation. I’ll go ahead and credit my Grammy for this one, too. She was no stranger to a canner and I’m betting my love of jars is really just that I miss my Grammy.
This year has been my first attempt at any type of food in jars. The refrigerator pickles have been a big success and you can use any old kind of (clean) jar for that because they stay in the fridge and only keep for a short period of time. I went a little bit crazy with the fridge pickles. But, to my credit, everyone keeps eating them so it can’t be all bad.
I have gone official. I bought real jars and real lids and real canning equipment. Old school.
The fruit subscription/box has really gotten away from me this week and I have had to throw away several peaches and pears. This was hard for me. (And, gross.) So, last night, I buckled up for a mid-week canning session. Go me! It was a little hectic after dinner and only yielded a few jars but … tomorrow is pick-up day for a new box! AND, these bad boys are seriously ripe. RIPE.
My instructions for how to safely can fruit and make them shelf stable came from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Until a few days ago, I didn’t even know this existed. Seems odd that there is a National Center but they do have a darn handy website with information on just about everything you would need to know to preserve. Check it out HERE. This is important stuff. You don’t want to make anyone sick and you don’t want to go through all of this trouble to save something for later and have it turn out crappy.
Here’s the down-low with pictures:
Boil everything. Clean, sanitized jars are important. It is even important to have clean lids and jar rings. Clean, clean, did I mention clean??
Make a simple syrup with sugar and water. Boil that too. But, not too much …
Clean, peal and cut the fruit. Use the clampy things to get the jars out of the boiling hot water. Put fruit in the screaming hot jars. Add the screaming hot syrup. Everything is screaming hot.
The funnel becomes really helpful at this point. But, you will probably burn yourself anyway (just like me).
Make sure to not overstuff the jars. You need to leave “head space.” Then, you get to use the cool magnet stick tool to fish the screaming hot lids and rings out of the other pot of boiling water on the stove. Tada–seal those bad boys up! Someone told me to wait until they have cooled to tighten the rings but I didn’t read that anywhere … I don’t know why but I did it that way. I think it is so the jar can dry and/or you can clean any sticky off before you tighten them down or put them in storage. You don’t want icky stuff growing on the outside, do ya?
The reward is here:
They look beautiful. And, it is quite satisfying to hear the sweet little “POP” sound when the jars cool enough for the lid to seal down on them.