Peaches in Syrup


Recipe and canning instructions are courtesy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine, published by Robert Rose Inc.


One summer, a few years ago, I did a lot of canning. Our pantry overflowed with jams, fruit butters, salsa, pickles and fruits in syrups.  All during that fall and winter we reaped the rewards of my hard work and enjoyed fresh-tasting pears, peaches, Jardiniere, apricot butter, strawberry jam, cherries, and every kind of pickled vegetable I could think of.


So when I happened upon these large, lovely peaches, all I could think of was how nice they were going to taste in January and February.  This is a small batch because I only bought 5 1/2 pounds and you really need about 8 or 10 pounds of peaches for a nice, large batch.


To begin canning you will need a big pot and a canning jar insert ( I bought mine as a set).  The magnetic lid lifter, bubble eliminator and measuring tool, funnel, and jar lifter are conveniently sold together as a set.  You will also need canning jars ( choose wide mouth- they are easier to fill), lids and rings.  I used 7 pint jars, however you could use 4 quart jars instead.  Also, while you are in the store buying the jars and lids, buy a box of the white, plastic screw-on lids.  Months from now when you pull a jar of goodies out of the cupboard, you will save the ring and throw the metal lid away.  The rings can be reused, the metal lids cannot be reused.  You will then place the white lid on the jar before placing the jar in the fridge.

Canning is not difficult, but it is time-consuming, so plan accordingly.  From start to finish today, not including the cooling time for the processed jars, it took me about 2 hours.  That’s pretty quick as far as canning goes and that’s because this is an easy recipe.  Canning is a great way to save the flavor of your garden (or the farmer’s market and grocery store) for the fall and winter.  There is nothing like home-canned apricot butter on toast in January, to bring that summer feeling to a cold, snowy day.  Enjoy!


1. Wash the jars, lids and screw bands in hot, soapy water.  Rinse well and drain.

2. Place rack in the bottom of a boiling-water canner, then place jars on the rack.  The water should cover the top of the jars.  Cover the canner and bring the water to a simmer, you do not need to boil the jars yet.  Keep the jars in the canner until ready to use.

3. Set the screw bands aside, they should be at room temperature so that you can easily place them on the jars.  Place the flat, round lids in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer.  They do not need to be boiled, but they should be kept hot (like the jars) until you are ready to use them.


4. Prepare the peaches and syrup:  Fill a large bowl 3/4 full with water and about 3 Tablespoons Fruit Fresh (it helps the fruit to retain it’s pretty color).   Peel, pit, and slice the peaches.  Place slices in large bowl of water containing Fruit Fresh.  Mix syrup (recipe follows) and bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat to simmer once the sugar has dissolved.  Keep syrup warm.  Place as many peach slices as possible in the warm syrup for at least 1 minute before placing the peaches in the jars.


5. Working with one jar at a time, remove a jar from the canner using the jar lifter, carefully pouring the water back into the canner.  Place the jar on a folded towel (or cutting board) to protect the counter.  Ladle or use tongs to place the warmed peaches in the hot jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Ladle in hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch head space (head space is the distance between the top of the jar and the top of the food).  Using the bubble eliminator and measuring tool, slide the tool down in the jar and move the peaches a little, two or three times to remove the air bubbles.  Add more syrup if necessary.

6. Wipe the jar rim and threads with a clean, damp cloth.  Using the magnetic lid lifter, lift a hot lid from the saucepan and place it on top of the prepared jar.  Place the screw band on top of the lid and tighten it with your hand until resistance is met, then tighten by hand.  Don’t use a tool to tighten the bands on the jars.

7. Return the jar to the canner and continue this process until all the peaches are in jars, and all the jars are in the canner (you may have to eat a few stray peach slices).

8. Make sure all the jars are covered with water by at least 1 inch.  Cover the canner and bring water to a full rolling boil.  Start the timer once the boil is vigorous and continuous.  The water must continue to boil the entire 25 minutes for pint jars, and 30 minutes for quart jars.

9. At the end of 25 (or 30 ) minutes, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid.  Allow the jars to remain in the canner for 5 minutes.  Remove the jars with the jar lifter and place on towels, in a draft free spot to cool.  Keep jars upright and do not touch the lids or seals because it could interfere with the sealing process.  Allow the jars to sit for 24 hours.

10. After 24 hours check the lids to make sure the jars are properly sealed; Remove the screw bands, press down on the center of each lid.  Sealed lids will curve downward and show no movement when pressed.  You should also check to see if the lid is easily removed just by lifting the edge with your finger.


11. If the jar is properly sealed, wipe the jar with a clean, damp cloth and label the jar.  Store the labeled jars in a cool, dark,  pantry or cupboard.

12. If the jar is not properly sealed, you can re-process the jar in hopes of obtaining a proper seal.  Or you can refrigerate the jar and use its contents within a few days.

13. Use home-canned foods within 1 year.


 Syrup for Peaches ( 8-10 pounds peaches per 1 batch of syrup)

Light Syrup: 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar and 5 1/4 cups water.

Medium Syrup: 3 1/4 cups granulated sugar and 5 cups water.

Heavy Syrup: 4 1/4 cups granulated sugar and 4 1/4 cups water.


Apricot Butter


Ball Blue Book of Preserving, Ball Corporation, ©2008 Hearthmark LLC dba  Jarden Home Brands, Daleville Ind. 47334

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, Ball Corporation, ©2006 Jarden Corp. , ©2006 Robert Rose, Inc.


I love making my own jams, preserves, pickles, butters, sauces, relishes, salsa, etc.  If you have never tried canning , be forewarned;

1. It is messy, time consuming, and hot.

2. It is easier to just pick up a jar of strawberry jam at the store.

3. It is not always cheaper in the long run, especially at the beginning when you have to purchase the equipment, canning tools, and jars.

However, the reason I like to preserve food myself is that I have control over what goes in the jar.  Using basically sugar (or Splenda ), vinegar, lemon juice, herbs & spices, and lots of different fresh fruits and vegetables, I can fill my pantry with goodies that my family will love, and that I know are not pumped full of chemicals and preservatives.  Mark especially likes the pickled Jardiniere (a mixture of peppers, pearl onions, cauliflower, celery, and other vegetables, e.g. mushrooms & zucchini, that you wish to add).  For me, there is nothing as good as the bright sunny taste of rich apricot butter on a gray winter day.  When slathered on toast, it is like liquid gold.


Late spring and summer are the best times to buy produce at it’s peak, and at the best price, especially if you have access to a Farmer’s Market.  If you are new to canning, I would suggest going to the Ball website,, and take a look at their Getting Started area.



I would also suggest picking up a Ball Canning and Home Preserving book.  They are sold where you buy canning supplies, or you can pick up a copy at the library.  Read through and familiarize yourself with the water-bath canning process. That is the process that I used for this Apricot Butter, and the process that is used by most people.  Also, canning is not like other cooking, you cannot just throw whatever you want in a pot and then jar it up.  There is a lot of science behind the craft of home preserving, but if you stick to the recipes you should not have any problems.  Both of these books have more recipes than you will ever make, plus the Ball website has tons of recipes to choose from as well.


There is some expense involved in canning at the beginning.  I waited until the canning pot I wanted went on sale ( $10), but you can also pick them up at yard sales.  They sell the canning equipment as a kit with all the items you will need (pictured below ) in the kit.  Well…except for my Granny’s metal funnel.  The flat lids must be used once only, but you use the jars and bands over and over again.  After a while you are only buying lids and produce (unless you have a nice garden).  Be sure to label your goodies (buy the dissolvable labels) with the name and date.  Enjoy!


Apricot Butter Ingredients 

2 pounds apricots ( this is a guideline, if your apricots are small you will need more than 2 pounds.  Mine were very small and I needed 4 pounds of apricots to yield 6 cups of puree).
1/2 cup water
3 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice


Apricot Butter Directions

1. Wash apricots.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Gather a small colander with a bowl large enough for the colander to fit inside, a skimmer (to lift apricots from the boiling water), and another bowl to place the blanched fruit in.


2. Blanch the apricots:

  • Fill one bowl with ice and water.  Set the colander inside the bowl.
  • Using the skimmer, place about 8-10 apricots in the pot of boiling water.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Immediately remove apricots from the boiling water and place in the ice bath.  Allow apricots to sit in ice bath for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove apricots from ice bath and place in separate bowl.
  • Continue this process until all the apricots have been blanched and cooled.


3. Now for the messy part; using a sharp knife, remove the skins of the apricots.  Slice the apricots in half and remove the pits and stems.


4. Place the apricots and water in a large stainless steel pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apricots are soft, about 20 minutes.


5. Working in batches, carefully transfer apricot mixture to a food mill, or food processor, and process to a smooth purée.  Do not liquefy.  Measure 6 cups of apricot purée (this part is kinda messy, too).


6. In a large stainless steel pot, combine apricot purée  and sugar.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon.  I cooked mine for about 30 minutes, and I stood over it the entire time to make sure that it did not scorch.  Needless to say, I place a fan in the kitchen when I am canning.

7. Prepare canner, jars and lids:

  • Fill canner with water; you will need the water to be at least 1 inch above the filled jars.  Place jar insert in canner.
  • Check jars for chips and cracks, then wash in hot, soapy water.
  • Place clean jars in canner and turn on the heat.
  • Place jar lids in a small saucepan and simmer over a low heat.
  • It is important that the food you are canning is hot, as well as the jars, and the lids.  The bands should be at room temperature.

8. Using the jar lifter, remove one jar from the canner, carefully pouring the water back into the canner, and place it on a clean kitchen towel.  Place the funnel in the jar, then ladle the hot apricot butter into the jar.  Leave 1/4 inch head space.  Use the measuring tool that comes with the kit to check for head space clearance, then flip the tool over and use the other end to remove air bubbles from the apricot butter (if there are any) by moving it through the hot mixture.


9. Using a clean, wet towel, carefully wipe the outside edges of the jar.

10. Using the magnetic lid wand, remove a hot lid from the saucepan and place on top of the jar.  Place a band over the lid and tighten only fingertip-tight.

11. Using the jar lifter, place the filled jar back inside the canner, and continue the process until all the jars are filled.  If you do not have enough Apricot Butter to fill a jar (like at the end), that partly filled jar can be placed in the refrigerator after it cools.  You should consume it within a few weeks.

12. Ensure that jars are completely covered with water, by at least 1 inch, then cover the canner and bring to a boil.  Process for 10 minutes, after it comes to a boil.  Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then, using the jar lifter, remove jars and place on a clean kitchen towel to cool.  Leave some space between the jars.  Do not be alarmed when you hear the lids popping, that is normal.


13. After jars have completely cooled, remove bands.  Check seals on jars, the lids should be on tight.  If you run across a jar that did not seal well, either place it in the fridge and use it right away, or process the jar again.  Using a clean damp cloth, wipe the jars and lids, then the bands.  Replace the bands and tighten.

14. Label the jars with name and date, then proudly place them in your pantry or cupboard.


Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles


Recipe courtesy of Joyce Levesque

This recipe for quick pickles comes from my Mother-in-law.  Refrigerator pickles are easy to make and do not require water bath canner processing, however they must be kept  refrigerated, and they should be consumed within a few weeks.


approximately 11 cups of sliced pickling cucumbers ( about 6 decent sized cucumbers)
3 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
1 1/2-3 teaspoons celery seed
1/8 cup salt

5-6 quart-sized canning jars, like Mason canning jars



1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt; mix well.  Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then turn off heat.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, so that the liquid does not cook the veggies.



2. Scrub cucumbers with a brush.  Slice off the ends and discard.  Slice cucumbers ( I use a really cool tool from Pampered Chef that cuts the cucumbers crinkle-style).



3. Slice onion, then add celery seed.



4. Fill jars with veggies.



5. Pour cooled liquid over veggies.  Wipe rims, seal and refrigerate.

There was enough of the veggie mix to fill 5 jars, but only enough liquid for 4 jars, so I poured Italian dressing into the 5th jar and we ate that salad with dinner.  Enjoy!