"The Albertas are in" is the annual announcement made by our small, local grocer when their first cases of canning peaches start appearing in the produce section. They go so fast that the grocer no longer takes reservations for them. I was pacing the floor while waiting for Dave to get home from work and get to the store to be sure I'd get at least one case. He finally got home, then hightailed it down to the store in time to get the last case they had. I imagine many midwest folks, like myself, love the variety this sweet, juicy fruit adds to the mid-winter menu (stored apples and pears are otherwise the norm for Winter fruit). Peaches can up pretty quick and easy (instructions below) and they add a beautiful golden orange color to the rainbow of jars in the pantry.
Set pan of water to boil for peeling peaches. Get jars hot (see canning tips 8/11/11 post) Start heating canning water. When water in peeling pot boils, dip peaches in for few minutes; then place peaches in cold water and remove skin. Cut peaches in half and remove the pits.
Prepare syrup in pan on stove as follows:
Light syrup: 2-1/4 cups sugar, 5-1/4 cups water
Medium Syrup: 3-1/4 cups sugar, 5 cups water
Heavy Syrup: 4-1/4 cups sugar, 4-1/4 cups water
Bring syrup to boil; Reduce heat and keep hot
Pack peach halves into hot pint or quart jars with pit cavity down. Fill with hot syrup to cover peaches and to within 1/2" from top. Place lids and screw bands on. Place jars on rack in hot canning water. Add more hot tap water if necessary so jars have a couple of inches of water above them. Bring water to boil and boil for 25 minutes (pints) or 30 minutes (quarts). Turn off stove after boiling time, let jars sit in water for 5 min., remove to cool.