Here are my tips for canning peaches that will make life a little easier while trying to preserve all those peaches you can get at the end of summer. Any freestone peach is great for canning, which include Elberta and Angeline peaches. Freestone peaches fall off the pit easily which makes them ideal for canning. Try to avoid Clingstone peaches as they basically do what the name implies: They cling to the stone, meaning they are really hard to get away from the pit. Ask your local grower or farmer's market which peaches are freestone so you get the right ones.
Now that you have your peaches, here are a few tips to make this whole process easier.
1. DO get everything together before you start canning. Make an assembly line of where you boil them, peel them, slice them, fill jars, etc. This makes the whole job so much easier when you know exactly what you are doing and when.
2. Dip peaches in boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then put in cold water because that makes the skins just fall off without having to actually peel them by hand.
3. Use firm and ripe peaches. If they are overripe, they will be mushy in the jar and if they are under ripe, they will be hard in the jar. You want firm peaches that feel firm but not rock hard and not at all mushy feeling.
4. To keep peaches from turning brown, place peeled peaches in a solution of 2 Tbsp each of vinegar and salt to each gallon of water. Do not soak for more than 20 minutes and always rinse them before putting them in the jar. There is nothing more un-appetizing than brown peaches in a jar, yuck!
5. Use the lids that are self sealing. That means that when they come out of the canner and start cooling off, you will hear random popping which means the jars have sealed. Push the jar lids lightly and if they do not pop back, they are sealed. Any jars that have not sealed after 30 minutes of being out of the canner can be opened and re-closed and placed back into the canner to try to seal again. If the jar(s) still do not seal, just place the jar in the refrigerator and eat within about 2-3 days.
With these tips, your job of canning the peaches should go without a hitch. They help me out a lot when I can peaches.