Peaches, Portland and Canning Classes

September 28, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

canned peaches

This last Saturday, I spent the day in New York, helping shepherd three Philadelphia street food vendors to and from the Vendy Awards. It was the first time that any vendors from outside NYC had been invited to participate in the Vendys and we were honored to attend. In fact, my only regret about the entire day was that it meant I missed the last day of peaches at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market.

Luckily, I have a husband (and have had for an entire year now!) who, despite his occasional grumbles, is always willing to help when the demands of work and life don’t leave me the time to manage everything. He took my black-handled basket to the market in my stead and brought home eight pounds of the final peaches.

Those peaches were just the thing to help me push through the canning reluctance I’ve been battling lately, as I couldn’t fathom letting the Scott-fetched fruit go to waste (and these peaches were fragile, just a day in our apartment and a few were beginning to mold. Such is the way with late-season fruit). I’m a little perplexed by the reluctance I’ve been feeling. It’s as if some interior switch was flipped and suddenly I’d internalized the idea that canning season was over, despite all signs to the contrary (and the heaps of fruit still scattered around the apartment). I’m trying hard to gear back up, to revitalize for the final push of fall, but I fear that things are going to be slower than is ideal.

However, if you can still get your hands on some peaches, you should. I put up four quarts tonight in the time it took to listen to a single hour of radio. My eight pounds, quartered, peeled and briefly simmered in a fairly light syrup (two cups sugar, six cups water) perfectly filled four quart jars. Three received added flavor (star anise, cinnamon, vanilla) and one I left plain. Processed in a tall stock pot for 25 minutes, they’ll be delicious in January (if I can wait that long).

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bowl of Seckel pears

In a week and a half, I’m headed for the West Coast. First I’ll be in San Francisco for BlogHer Food and then I’m headed up to Portland, OR for a week’s worth of vacation with Scott. I’ve carved one evening out of that trip to teach a canning class, so if you’re in the Portland area and want to talk canning with me, you’re in luck.

The class will focus on Pear-Ginger Jam and will be held on Wednesday, October 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. It will be held at the Portland Subud Center, which is in NE Portland just off 33rd Avenue (not far from the Concordia New Seasons). Cost is $45. If you’re interested in signing up, please email me at foodinjars AT My mom will be helping me with the class, so it’s also your chance to meet the woman who taught me to can and who is so frequently mentioned on these here pages.

I’ve also still got space in the sauerkraut class next week (October 5), as well as the Philadelphia-based Pear-Ginger Jam class on October 23 (the November and December classes also still have availability as well). Shoot me an email if you’re interested in signing up!

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22 thoughts on "Peaches, Portland and Canning Classes"

  • Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I just arranged to pick up 100 lbs of the last of the season peaches from my favorite local farmer. I shall have to try your spice combo, it sounds lovely.

  • Congrats on your one year anniversary. My husband went and picked apples for me at the orchard so we could can applesauce. He too puts up with my jar ways. They are alot alike in many ways. Congrats on getting more peaches. I’m waist deep in tomatoes right now. Going to can them up today, before going back to bed for work. Life of night shift I guess! 🙂 Enjoy your trip to the west coast and may your travels be fun filled and safe.

  • Oooo, those beautiful Seckel pears in that beautiful Catherineholm bowl inspire me to share the Seckel pear experience I had last weekend. My fave local store had them for $3/dozen so I bought a LOT. I love the Seckels.

    I wanted pink pickled pears – sweet and spiced — so I used pomegranate juice for my liquid, and though I haven’t tasted them yet, they look gorgeous. Here’s what I did:

    I used the recipe below as a base for pickling 1-1/2 dozen Seckel pears. (The recipe writer must’ve had really tiny pears to only get 2 pints from a dozen pears.) To get pink pears, for liquid I used 2-3/4 cups pomegranate juice and 1 C water (doubled base amount), doubled the spices and added a good handful of star anise, but did not double the sugar, just used the base 2 cups. The yield from 18 Seckels was 5-1/2 pints. I quartered and cored the pears to fit better in the pint jars, and poached them very briefly, about 2 minutes, in the boiling pickling liquid. Haven’t yet opened or tasted them, but the pickling liquid was delicious and the pears look gorgeous in their pink liquid in the jars.

    Adapted from a Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbook (edition unknown)

    2 c. sugar
    2 1/2 c. water
    1 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
    1 T. cloves
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1/2 t. freshly ground nutmeg
    10 or 12 whole allspice berries
    10 or 12 small Seckel pears (should be very ripe)
    2 canning pint jars, lids and rings

    Wash and dry the pears (do not peel them). If there are any bad spots in the pears, carefully cut out just the bad part and leave the pears whole otherwise. Place a stick of cinnamon in each jar, along with 5 or 6 allspice berries (I also put a star anise in each jar). Combine the sugar, water, vinegar and spices in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. You can cold-pack the pears; I poached mine for just a couple minutes in the hot liquid before packing.

  • I canned up quite a few peaches this year. The local farm had canning peaches for a steal. I also made up some peach butter with lots of yummy spices. I’ve been happily staring at all those lovely full jars lately.

  • Gorgeous! I’m very envious of your non-floating peaches. No matter what I tried this year, mine all floated. Still delicious. Still beautiful (except for the ones on top). But floating. 🙁 Mine were in a light syrup and processed for 25 and 30 minutes (two batches on different days). I’ve chalked it up to the canning gods requiring a sacrifice. I’m glad to see from Amanda’s post that I’m not alone.

  • Bummer!!! I live in Portland (well, close enough) and would have loved to meet you and take your class. Unfortunately, I have commitments on Wednesday evenings, and won’t be able to attend. Hope you enjoy your vacation here, though. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  • Beautiful peaches — I especially like the star anise! I see I am not the only one with floating peaches. Is there a secret? And yes, congrats on your first year.

  • if I had $45 to spend on a canning class i’d be there!! enjoy your visit to portland, it’s gorgeous here in the fall 🙂

  • Those peaches are very nice looking late harvest freestones. I bought early harvest freestones which were not free stones, so not only was it an 11 hour canning day, mostly spent peeling and chopping, but I fear the peaches will not be as sweet and lovely as yours. They’re “green” with youth; I’m green with envy :).

  • It’s amazing how beautiful star anise is, especially with peaches as a backdrop! I also love the bowl that the pears are in. I need to go harvest my neighbor’s pears.

  • Man, I am so jealous of a.your peaches and b. your trip to SF as I am still the the throes of missing it and hating NJ. Maybe putting up some boozy fruit will snap you out of your funk since that it totally in prep for the holidays.

  • Simply amazing. Simple ingredients, expertly prepared. Do you really have to wait until January for the peaches? Is that something like curing?

  • I also have some end of the season peaches & my friend has challenged me to do a savory chutney. I haven’t found any recipes that really work. Any Ideas?!?

  • Peaches! And pickled! Swoon! I have an old family recipe for making spiced peaches with bing cherries (also swoonably good), but I’ve never canned them and wish I’d have known about this when they were in abundance. Next year!