My son’s peach tree has been producing like gangbusters this year and I happily accepted a big bowl of peaches from him yesterday. Aren’t they beautiful?
He has one of those peach trees that has grafts of several different varieties, and unfortunately I am not sure which type of peach these are (probably Redhaven), but they sure taste good and sweet! I decided to can them in small chunks in small jars – specifically to add to yogurt!
First, I had to can the peaches. Here is a brief summary of what is needed to do to can peaches: First, separate the ones that are over ripe or have obvious insect damage. If the insect damage isn’t too bad, you can use the good parts. Then, you need to peel the peaches. The quickest way is to drop them in a simmering water bath for about 30-60 seconds. I usually do two or three at a time, chasing them around the pot with a slotted spoon. Once the skin starts to crack, scoop each peach out with the spoon and plunge into ice water. You don’t want to cook the peach at this point – just peel it! I usually use just a sauce pan to hold the simmering water, but a big stock pot for the ice water. This way I can go through this process with a whole lotta peaches before I have to stop and finish processing.
Now the peel just slips off the peach. There may be some spots you need to use a paring knife to get off the peel – especially where the peach isn’t quite ripe – but generally the peel should just slip off. Be careful! I have ended up with more than one peach on the floor while peeling. The peeled peaches are slippery little devils! 😉
At this point I need to decide if I am going to can my peaches in syrup or water. I know it would be healthier to can in just plain water, but I do like just a little organic sugar in my peaches and this is what will give just a bit of sweetness to the yogurt. It also helps the peaches not to float so much in the jar, though this usually happens with peaches anyway. So, I made a light syrup of 2 cups of sugar in 5 cups of water. Heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. You don’t necessarily have to boil it, as long as the sugar dissolves.
Once the peaches are peeled, cut in half and pull out the pit. Cut the peaches up into bite sized chunks and
throw place into the syrup. After all the peaches are chunked up and in the syrup, it’s time to bring them to a simmer for about 5 minutes – just long enough to heat through.
Meanwhile, get your jars and lids ready. I like to put my clean jars, full of water, in the microwave. I microwave them until the water is just boiling and then let them sit in the microwave until I am ready for them. This sterilizes the jars and also keeps them piping hot while I am preparing the food that will go in them. Remember, if you are doing a hot pack, as I am here, you need to have hot jars, hot syrup and fruit and simmering hot water ready in the water bath canner. Otherwise, if you put hot liquids into a cold jar, or a hot jar into a cold water bath canner, the thermal shock just might shatter your jars. Believe me, it isn’t pretty! 😉
Once everything is good to go, pack your hot jars with the hot peaches to about 1/2 inch of the top. Jiggle and wiggle (gently) the jars to settle the peaches down and get the bubbles out. Pack a little more in if there is room now (♫♪♫♫ from all that shakin goin on ♪♫♪♪) and add syrup to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Wiggle and jiggle again (carefully) to make sure you have all the bubbles out and run a small thin plastic knife around the inside edge to release any trapped bubbles. Wipe the rim clean of any food particles or syrup and put your hot lid on top. Screw on the band to just finger tight.
Here is where I do it just a bit different because I am using Tattler lids. I screw on the band until it is just finger tight, like with the metal bands, but then I untwist it about 1/2 inch. The Tattler lids need just a bit more room for the vacuum to form. Then, once the processing is done and the jars are pulled out of the water bath, you must immediately tighten the lids down. Why do I go through the trouble with these Tattler lids? Because these lids can be used over and over and over again, unlike their metal counterpart. Since I like the sustainability of using these lids and the money it will save me in the long run, I have been buying a set of lids every other month or so. Eventually, I want to have enough Tattler lids to be able to can exclusively with them.
Back to the peaches.
For the half pint jars you will need to keep them in the water bath canner for 15 minutes (pints 20 minutes). Make sure there is at least one inch of water over the top of the jar lids. Let them cool, take off the band, check to make sure you got a good seal, and keep in a cool, dry, dark area.
Now it’s time to make the peach and almond yogurt!
My oldest son and his wife got me a yogurt maker for Christmas. I didn’t ask for one and didn’t even know I wanted one, but boy am I glad they got me one! 🙂 It seems my kids know me well. What I got was the Dash Greek Yogurt Maker and I will tell you, I am in love! It makes enough yogurt for four servings, plus 1/2 cup reserved for making another batch of yogurt! I highly recommend this yogurt maker.
Anyway, make your yogurt however you want to. If you don’t have a yogurt maker, there are plenty of ways to make yogurt without one. In fact, I just saw a post about how to make yogurt in a crockpot! Click HERE for a link to that post. If you don’t have a crockpot either, just google for “how to make yogurt at home” and you will find lots of recipes and ways to make your own.
Okay. Now you have your home canned peaches, fresh yogurt, but wait – where are the almonds? Easy-peasy – just buy some blanched almonds or do it yourself. To blanch almonds, just plunge them in boiling water for about 15 seconds, then pour cold water over them. The skins push right off. Chop them up and you are now good to go!
I equally divide the peaches and almonds into my handy-dandy containers, add the yogurt and done! I like to add a little bit of cinnamon and/or cardamom to mine also. The cinnamon is good for you (lowers blood pressure) and adds that extra umph of flavor! Sooo good!
For breakfast or for a substantial snack, yogurt, fruit and nuts are fantastic. You can change it around with whatever fruit or nut you have available. I can my fruit in the small 8 oz jelly jars because it is the perfect size for one batch of yogurt. Try a blueberry/pecan combo, or apple/walnut. Once you have your fruit already canned, it’s easy to pull a jar out of the pantry, grab some of your favorite nuts, and make one of these delicious combos!
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