Wade on Birmingham

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Get started in canning with easy peach preserves


jarred peaches

Make summer last all year by canning fruits
in season. Photos by Amanda Storey.

By Amanda Storey

With all the work I do in food justice and recipes, you’d think I’d know how to “put something up.” In the South, it’s just another way of saying “canning and preserving.”

Birmingham's Best EatsYounger generations are often far removed from growing their own food, much less canning and preserving or knowing the harvest calendar. As I began to discover how to eat locally, seasonally and sustainably, I needed to make the most of my bounty through canning.

Enter Angela Treadaway, who covers food safety, preservation and preparation as a regional extension agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in six counties around Birmingham. Her 2-hour class at East Lake United Methodist Church was only $5! And I walked away with a better understanding of techniques and equipment, plus two jars of peach preserves.

It’s imperative for folks to attend at least one class just to for hands-on practice. These regional resources can guide your preservation journey.

Learn how to make peach jam from Angela Treadaway. The class will be 10 a.m. till noon on Aug. 21 at the University Baptist Church in Montevallo. $5. To register, call Treadaway at (205) 410-3696.

• • •

jarred peaches

Peach preserves
(recipe from Angela Treadaway, Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Makes five 1-pint jars


  • 6 cups fresh peaches (about 7 to 9 peaches, depending upon size), pitted and cut into chunks
  • Ascorbic acid (powdered vitamin C)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 package dry pectin, any brand of low- or no-sugar type
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Clean out jars and fill them with scalding hot water. (Hot jars are needed for the final step.)

Wash your peaches in cold water. Remove the large pit and discard. Cut up the peach halves (skin on) into 3/4-inch chunks. Don’t cut them too small, because some of those nice hearty chunks should remain intact in your jam. Place peaches in water with ascorbic acid to prevent darkening.

Place the 6 cups of chunks (water drained) and lemon juice into a large saucepan on medium-high. Add sugar and stir slowly and steadily. (Trust me: Being consistent in your stirring is one of the secrets to amazing jam.) It will seem a bit dry at first, but as you keep steadily stirring, the heavy chunks and the sugar will break down into a beautiful golden-orange colored mixture. Keep stirring!

Once the mixture starts to bubble, add butter and keep stirring. Once the mixture gets to the rolling boil, where the mixture keeps bubbling regardless of stirring, quickly add pectin. Keep stirring for 1 minute after pectin has dissolved. Turn off heat.

Get one hot jar and pour out water. Ladle the hot liquid jam into the jar, and repeat for remaining jars. You may get five full jars or less depending on how the peaches panned out in the mixture. Place lids and screw bands on jars. Place them in a hot water bath canner, and process for 5 minutes.

• • •

Amanda StoreyAmanda Storey is project coordinator of Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, a 4-year grant aimed at fighting childhood obesity in Jefferson County. In her spare time, she writes about her true passion: food as a connector to communities on her blog, Food Revival (@foodrevival).

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Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

3 Yips for “Birmingham’s Best Eats: Get started in canning with easy peach preserves”

  1. Tweets that mention Wade on Birmingham » Birmingham’s Best Eats: Get started in canning with easy peach preserves -- Topsy.com
    Sunday, August 8, 2010, 8:30 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shaun Chavis, Food Revival. Food Revival said: RT @ShaunChavis: Learn how to can: @foodrevival tells you where and why. http://itswa.de/bbe-peach #bhameats #canning #canvolution […]

  2. Zackery M
    Saturday, August 14, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Canned and preserves are some of my favorite things to eat and I think store bought jelly is disgusting.

    Last week was the funeral of my grandpa, so I spent a week in Cullman. That’s where I spent about half my childhood. Before I left, I raided my grandma’s pantry where she keeps all her canned foods and left with fig and two different kinds of grape jam.

    So far I’ve only been able to open one of the grapes because the lids are on too tight. But it’s delicious on the homemade loaf of bread I snuck away from my grandma.

  3. Wade
    Sunday, August 15, 2010, 10:42 pm

    Condolences on the loss of your grandpa.

    I’m envious of your many jams and breads, sir.

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