If I were to be perfectly honest with you, I like Fall as a season but it has always played second fiddle to Summer in my Pennsylvanian heart. I have many reasons for this bias attitude towards a season. The ultimate fact remains thought that when I flip the calendar to September, Fall is here whether I love it or just like it. So, this fall, I decided that if I couldn’t turn back time or fly south to gain just a few more months of summer, then I would preserve summer to enjoy on my own timeline and make some peach jam.
It was time to can. This time honored tradition is the perfect blend of both seasons. It has been several years since I have attempted to can peach jam and I have missed tasting summer in the snowy season.
Peaches are the fruit that sing summer to me when I taste them.
I grew up watching my grandmother and aunts and uncles can everything from tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and any other vegetable or fruit that survived the summer heat or rain. My immediate family were dubbed the “city folk” because we lived in town about 10 minutes from all of my relatives who lived on farms. I got the benefits of farm life without really living on a farm.
I didn’t appreciate it as a kid. I thought that everyone canned their garden finds. It wasn’t until I moved back to Pennsylvania after college that I decided I should take up the art of canning.
Problem was, I didn’t have a garden. But my parents had a small grape arbor so I figured….no time like the present.
I called my dear friend Amy to help me with my first canning experience. She brought her tools of the trade over to my house and helped me with the maiden batch of grape juice and grape jelly. I loved it. I would savor the taste of grape juice in a beautiful wine glass on Thanksgiving or Christmas eve and it was like tasting summer all over again while watching it snow.
I’ve discovered that you have to have a good season of crop in order to can your favorite fruit. I would also admit that you have to notch out some time in your schedule to can. The fruit doesn’t care about your fall calendar commitments and if you miss your window, too bad and good luck next year.
The last six growing seasons have been consumed raising babies so the canning that use to get done, hasn’t. Plain and simple.
This fall, I was ready to change that. Plus, I really missed tasting summer during the long snowy months so I dug out my canning tools, which my friend Amy got me as a wedding gift, and decided to try canning one of my favorites, peach jam.
Admittedly, I still called my relatives to ask for clarification on freezer jam versus jelly and I’m proud to say, I successfully made both kinds and my family has been enjoying the “fruits” of my labor on their toast or PB&J. I guess some things are meant to be savored now as the leaves start to turn and some jars of peach jam have been tucked neatly into boxes to be brought up from the basement when the colder months come to our neck of the woods.
If you have never attempted to can, here is a simple tutorial that can help you get started.
Gather your supplies. Here is a suggested list.
Purchase peaches (or fruit of your choice)
Blanche the peaches in boiling hot water for about a minute until the skin separates from the peach.
Take the peaches out of the hot water and peel the skin off
Cut the peaches in half and throw away the seed
After washing the jars, put them in the oven upside down and turn on the over to the lowest setting to warm the jars.
Put the lids in a pot with a thin layer of water and turn them on medium heat to a rolling boil.
Once your peaches are peeled and sliced, cut them into very small slices or put them in a blender and chop them on the slowest setting.
(I like to make sure that there are small chunks of peaches so don’t blend to vigorously)
Measure out the amount of fruit, sugar, and pectin you will be making. Follow the instructions on the box because each type of jelly, jam, or freezer jam is different depending on the fruit you are using.
Once you have completed the directions and cooking time, scoop the fruit mix into the warm jars one at a time. Make sure that you wipe the top of the jar off before applying your lid and ring.
My granny always taught me to turn the jar upside down for the first 12-24 hours.
After 24 hours, check to make sure that the top of each jar has sealed. You can tell by pressing on the center and there should be no movement on the top. If there is movement, check the box for additional instructions. For all other jar, you can flip them right side up and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready to consume.
If you have enjoyed learning how to can peach jam or you are a fan of canning, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to know what you have stored away ready to be savored in the months to come.
I hope that you have enjoyed my journey back to the road of canning. It has been nice using old tools again to get the job done.
For more fabulous ideas of how to Find Fall, click on the link below.