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). 

Just to inspire you, here's what it looks like to can peaches. It's not very technical. There are lots of sites where you can watch a whole video, and lots of safety advice from USDA. To give you an idea of cost, five $3.00 baskets made 16 2-cup jars. That's how I get 25 cents for a half-cup serving. Basically (these are not exhaustive instructions) there are a few steps:

  1. Blanche the peaches for a minute or so in boiling water to loosen the skin.
  2. Peel the fruit and cut it up.
  3. Add a small amount of sugar and a little ascorbic acid as you go.
  4. Bring the fruit to a boil and simmer only until it's submerged in its own juice.
  5. Put the stewed fruit in clean hot jars with perfectly clean, smooth rims wiped with a hot wet cloth.
  6. Put the new lids (which have been sitting in hot water) on and screw the rims on finger tight.
  7. Completely submerge the jars in a boiling water bath (an enamel canning pot big enough for 7 pint jars is cheap)
  8. Boil it hard for 10 minutes.
  9. Take the jars out and let sit on a towel 24 hours before you touch them.
  10. If the lids 'pop' down, they're sealed.
Just enough fruit  On Desserts  Baking – Yes you can!

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