Updated: Aug 21, 2020
I grew up in Kinston, NC and both of my parents were from the country. My dad grew in up Jones County, NC and my mom grew up in Duplin County, NC. My parents had me late in life so I grew up with a lot of old traditions that honestly a lot of people don’t do anymore. The one thing that I could count on EVERY summer was that my mom was going to can and freeze lots of fruits and vegetables. As a kid, I would dread it because it would take hours to shuck corn, shell peas and beans and make peach and pear preserves and sweet pickles. As an adult, I am so grateful that I learned how to do these things not only to prepare my freeze and pantry for the fall and winter months but to also pass it on to my 5 year daughter.
Peach preserves were one of my favorite things to make with my mother. She would get fresh peaches and turn them into amazing preserves that she would put on homemade biscuits. The process of canning is LONG but it so rewarding in the end because you have food that you can store in your pantry for months. Once you open the jar, you have the place it in the refrigerator so it can remain fresh.
There are some tools that you will need in order to can any food. If you have the patience and the tools, you basically put anything into a mason jar to enjoy it later.
A Big Canning Pot- I have my mom’s old canning pot but you can order one here. You will need a canner to sterilize your jars and for the water bath that will ensure your jars are sealed.
Canning Utensils- I love the Ball brand. They have a kit that includes the tools you will need to place you jars in the hot water bath, the measuring tool you need to make sure you don’t overfill your jars (I don’t really use it) and most importantly a funnel so you can easily get your hot fruit into the jar. You also need a ladle but most people have one in their kitchen.
Jars- You have to have good quality glass jars. I use the Ball brand of jars because that is the brand that my mom used. For my preserves, I used the quilted 8oz jelly jars because I love that it has a place for a label on the front.
Labels- It is best to label your jars so you know exactly what is in each jar. I used the Avery brand labels and I was able to customize them and print them at Office Depot.
Ingredients for Peach Preserves- Yields 12 jars
8 cups of fresh peaches, chopped
7 cups of white sugar
2 boxes of Sure-Jell pectin
4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1. Fill a boiling water canner to about 2/3rds full with water and bring it to a boil.
2. Wash your peaches and score the bottom of the peaches.
3. Once the water is boiling, slowly lower your peaches in the water for about one two minutes. **Use ripe peaches**
4. Place the scolded peach into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once the peaches have cooled, the skin should slip right off.
5. Chop the peaches in chunks to prepare them for the cooking process.
6. Replace the water in your canner and bring to a boil so you can sterilize the jars. Also, put the lids and tops in a separate pot to boil as well. You want hot jars, hot lids and hot peaches for this process.
7. Place 8 cups prepared fruit into an 8 quart sauce pot. Add lemon juice and pectin. Bring peach mixture to a full rolling boil (which is a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when the mixture is stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
8. When the peach mixture has had a full rolling boil for a full minute, stir in the 7 cups of sugar.
9. Return mixture to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute stirring constantly. **You need to make these peaches in a deep pot because you have to constantly stir them so they don’t burn and a deep pot helps you not get burned when you are cooking them down**
10. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with spoon.
11. Next, ladle the peach jam mixture into hot prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe the jar rims and threads clean if need be. ** DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP** If your jars, have preserves on the top and sides then your jars will not seal properly.
12. Cover with the 2-piece lids and screw the band tightly on each jar. Place each jar into the canner. Make sure the water is covering the jars by at least two inches. Place the lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Once the jars are boiling, process the jam for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the pot and let the peaches sit in the pot for another 5 minutes.
13. Remove the jars from the pot onto a towel to cool. The jam should set in 24 to 48 hours. . After 24 hours check the seals. If the lid springs back, the jam is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
***I highly recommend using a canning pot when canning peach preserves. Below is the canning pot that I would recommend.***
***You also need a utensil kit in order to add your fruit to the jars and to lower the jars into your canner. I use the Ball utensil because it includes a jar funnel, jar lifter and bubble remover and headspace tool.***