Sunday, October 13, 2013

World's Best Peaches


Peaches are abundant and cheap at the end of the summer, and they can exceptionally well.  I have always loved to can peaches because they bring a taste of summer in the dead of winter.  This recipe is excellent, and it will get you lots of admiring oohs and aahs.

Buy large, fresh freestone peaches.

Carefully peel each peach, cut them in half lengthwise and discard the pits.  Cut out any soft or discolored parts.

After peeling, place the peach halves in a bowl of cold water into which you have mixed two healthy tablespoons of ascorbic acid or Fruit Fresh.

Place your quart jars, lids, and rings on the stove to sterilize.  Wide mouth jars work the best for peaches, but you can use either kind in a pinch.

While the jars are sterilizing, decide if you want to use heavy, medium, or light syrup, and follow the recipe for syrup that can be found under the Basic Instructions tab.  Add a couple of cinnamon sticks to the recipe and allow them to simmer in with the syrup.  Simmer the syrup and additional ten minutes so that the cinnamon will have time to infuse.  You can also use ground cinnamon, but it makes the syrup kind of cloudy, and creates a sediment on the bottom of the jars.

I always cold pack, (raw pack), my peaches because I feel that hot packing makes them too mushy after they go through the canner, but you can do it either way.  If you want to hot pack, then slide the peaches into the syrup and allow them to simmer for about three minutes before canning.

When you're ready to can your peaches, put a piece of star anise and a tablespoon of brandy into the bottom of the jar.  Stack the peaches carefully in the jar.  This can be a little difficult to do - especially for the layers at the bottom - so I keep a chopstick handy to spear them and flip them into place.  Be sure to protect your hands, because the jars will be hot.  Pack them into the jar clear up to the neck.

When the peaches are in the jars, place your canning funnel on the top of the jar and carefully ladle the syrup in until it is about 1/2" from the top.  Once you've put syrup in all of the jars, take a kitchen knife and run it up and down around the sides to release any trapped air bubbles.  After you do this, you will probably need to top the jars off with a little more syrup to bring the level back up to 1/2" below the rim.

Clean the jar rims and threads, and place the sterilized lids and rings on the jars.  Process in your water bath canner according to the instructions at the website found on the Basic Instructions page.

I promise that these will be the best peaches you ever ate!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Welcome To the Urban Canner!

I'm so excited about my first post!  I have been thinking about this blog for quite some time, and I'm finally taking the plunge and posting some ideas for people who are interested in emergency preparedness, and food storage and preservation, but have no idea how to get started.  (Or why to get started!)

I should probably start by telling you that I am no longer an urban girl.  I grew up in a suburb of LA, and spent the majority of my life in California, before moving to Wyoming sixteen years ago and starting to adjust to a completely different kind of life.  At first it was kind of a hard adjustment, but as we settled into our new life we began to develop a deep appreciation for the simpler things, and for the homemaking traditions that have largely been lost with our grandparents.  People in Wyoming still have vegetable gardens, (even if they live in town), they still quilt, they still can, and they enjoy many other beautiful handcrafts.  Because of our harsh environment, people here are also very aware of the need to be prepared for any emergency. 

Most people in our area not only have a wood or pellet stove in their home for back up heat in the winter, but they also have wells on their property, (even in town), and hand pumps to get the water out if the electricity should fail.  For many people up here, food storage, emergency oil lamps, back-up generators, and other preparedness items are a part of life that is taken for granted.  When I lived in the city people didn't think about those things as often, and that's a shame, because we probably needed them even more.

So I'm starting this blog with you city-slickers in mind.  I want to teach you the basic tenets of canning and food storage, and offer some suggestions about emergency preparedness.  I'm also a person who is committed to a very frugal lifestyle, so there will be tips throughout the blog on saving money on everything from food to home furnishings.  Did you know that there are ways to grow your own food even if you life in a small, urban apartment?  Did you know that there are ways to store emergency food even without a lot of space?  Did you know that canning is really easy, can provide you with healthier, safer food, and can save you a ton of money on your family's grocery bill?  These are all subjects that we'll address in this let's get started!