Traditionally (even when I was a kid), fruit was a
luxury. In the winter, if you had any it was because you preserved some
in the summer. I canned rooms full of pears and peaches in the
seventies when we had pear trees in our downtown yard and my in-laws
had peach trees. This summer I bought them to can, because they were
still half the price they'll be when imported in the winter. A jar of
my slightly stewed fruit (in its own juice with a very small amount of
sugar) holds more actual fruit than a can with pieces floating loosely
in syrup or juice. By my calculation, a half cup serving from my jar is
a 25 cent peach (not including the jar, which is a capital investment).
- Blanche the peaches for a minute or so in boiling water to loosen the skin.
- Peel the fruit and cut it up.
- Add a small amount of sugar and a little ascorbic acid as you go.
- Bring the fruit to a boil and simmer only until it's submerged in its own juice.
- Put the stewed fruit in clean hot jars with perfectly clean, smooth rims wiped with a hot wet cloth.
- Put the new lids (which have been sitting in hot water) on and screw the rims on finger tight.
- Completely submerge the jars in a boiling water bath (an enamel canning pot big enough for 7 pint jars is cheap)
- Boil it hard for 10 minutes.
- Take the jars out and let sit on a towel 24 hours before you touch them.
- If the lids 'pop' down, they're sealed.
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