This post was intended to come two weeks ago; mother nature had other plans, however, as our peach harvesting season came late for the third year in a row. So I have started my peaches a little late, which means pears and grape juice will be late as well in my home. I have, however completed homemade apricot-pineapple jam and tomato sauce (I will try to get a post up about that). In the coming weeks you will want to watch for posts on canning pears and pumpkin.I have quite a storage of home-canned products. I have found canning my own foods saves my family money, builds our storage, and besides all that; it tastes better and is healthier than the stuff you buy in the store, which is also what so attracted me to Shelf Reliance's THRIVE line. So if canning is something you've always wanted to try, but just haven't gotten around to learning...here you go!
Place new jar lids in a saucepan, cover with water and place on the stove over medium heat.
Make a "simple syrup" by placing 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low until ready to use. One recipe of simple syrup will fill about 4 quart jars.
Wash peaches in cool water to rinse off any debris or pesticides (Note: A half bushel of peaches will yield about 15 quarts of peaches).
Working in batches, blanch peaches for about 45 seconds in boiling water (I use a stockpot with a steamer basket, so I can easily get the peaches in and out); immediately transfer peaches to a sink filled with cold water. Slip the skins from the peaches (they should slide off easily using your fingers), cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. You may either quarter the peaches or keep them halved (I quarter mine so I can save my wide-mouth jars for pears).
Begin filling your quart jars with peach quarters (fill to within 1 inch of the top of the jar), turning the cut sides in so the pretty side is facing the outside of your jar (doing this also allows you to fit more peaches in each jar). Place 1 teaspoon "Fruit Fresh" (found in your supermarket canning section) in each quart jar.
Fill jars to within 1 inch of the top of the jar (where the ring portion of the jar begins) with simple syrup.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Place a lid on top and a screw-top jar ring; screw tight.
Place filled jars in a large pot and cover with warm water. Place pot over high heat; bring to a boil. Process jars (meaning keep the jars in boiling water) for 30 minutes. Remove jars from pot and place on a cloth on the counter. Let the jars of peaches rest undisturbed until completely cool- you should start hearing soft popping noises as the jars cool, this is the lids sealing. Once all the jars have cooled completely (about 3 hours), check to make sure all jars have sealed-do this by lightly touching the center of the lid; if you feel the lid give under your finger, that jar has not sealed. Place jars that did not seal on their own in the fridge and use within a couple days.