Vendors are very good about offering samples. I can’t imagine a better sales technique, and the first peach I tried was spectacular. Ready to go, I asked the requisite question: “Cling or freestone?”
Cling peaches and freestone peaches are indistinguishable at first glance, but for home canners the difference is an important one. The flesh of a cling peach holds fast to the pit, whereas the pit of a freestone can be removed cleanly and with little effort. If preparing peaches for any use other than enjoying as a hand fruit, the freestone is a clear winner as it can save significant time in preparing large amounts of fruit for preservation.
That first peach of the season turned out to be a cling peach, as did every other peach I tried that day. Cling peaches are ready for harvest just a touch earlier than my preferred freestone. I settled for just half a dozen to tide me over that day and returned this week, just in time for the arrival of my chosen peach. Worth the wait.
I tend to prefer freezing peaches to canning, but there’s only so much space in the fridge and canning is a great way to preserve the harvest to get through the year without losing that valuable freezer real estate. Preparation of the fruit is nearly the same, but when canning peaches, the fruit must be packed in a sugary solution to make sure everything stays peachy as the months tick by. You may notice grocery store canned peaches are labeled as “light” or “heavy” syrup. The home canner has the same choice, and there is some advantage to being able to control the amount of sugar you use (I’m a “light” man myself).
If you have a bumper crop of peaches, be it homegrown or market fresh, canning them is an easy way to make them last all year long without buying a second (or third) freezer. Here’s how to do it.
Once skin is removed, cut peaches into halves, quarters or chunks and drizzle with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Originally: How to Can Peaches