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6 one-quart canning jars with rings and self-sealing lids
11 pounds of ripe peaches
1 package ascorbic or citric acid or 1 Cup fresh squeezed Lemon Juice for a *Lemon Juice bath*
2 quarts unsweetened apple or white grape juice (I prefer the flavour of white grape over the apple but it is more expensive)
1. Sterilize canning jars and rings by simmering them in hot water for at least 10 minutes. Leave them in the hot water until ready to use. Lids should be in hot, but not boiling water, until ready to use.
2. Mix ascorbic or citric acid with water according to package directions. Omit this step if choosing the Lemon Juice bath, see instructions below.
3. Boil water in another saucepan to blanch the fruit. Dip fruit, a few at a time, into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly into cold water and slip off skins.
4. Cut fruit in half, remove pits and slice. Coat peaches with acid water to prevent darkening. (Acidifying the peaches also helps preserve them. Do not skip this or any other steps.) *Lemon juice bath: slice peaches into a lemon juice bath before ladling into jars. To do this fill a large glass bowl one-third with filtered water and add 1 cup of real lemon juice. This is the method I use, the peaches may darken a little more with lemon juice but I don't mind.
5. Ladle out and pack peach slices in jars, almost to the top. Be sure to leave the top 1/2″ free.
6. Bring the juice to a boil and ladle it over the peaches, leaving 1/2″ of headspace.
7. Make sure there are no big bubbles in the jars. If there are, slip in a knife to release them. Wipe jar rims clean of any bits of fruit or juice. Put lids on and hand-tighten.
8. Process jars in a boiling-water canner with jars covered by 2″ of boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes.
9. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool for 12 hours. You should hear each jar “ping” as it cools and the seal forms.
10. Unscrew rings to make sure jars are sealed. The lids should be firmly attached and slightly indented in the center. (If a jar isn’t sealed properly, you can refrigerate it and eat the peaches within a few days.)
Store in a dark, cool place for up to one year.