The follow is sort of a loose description of a canning day with pictures to demonstrate some of the steps we use in canning.  Prior planning and set up is the key to a smooth canning day!  Setting up an "outdoor kitchen" is very helpful, too!  The pictures below will give you an idea of what different canning steps look like.

For Canning

You will need quart jars with new lids and new or used bands that are not damaged or rusty.  You'll need a 'water-bath' canner and a jar-lifer.  This utensil is sort of like a large tongs for jars.  Helpful, but not necessary, is a magnetic lid lifter (this is a pencil sized utensil with a magnet on one end that you can use to lift  lids out of scalding water to place on each filled jar).

You will also need plenty of towels and washcloths for keeping things covered, for catching drips and spills. Then, you will need bowls for ice-water after dipping peaches, for holding peaches you're ready to can.  You'll need a small pan for simmering the lids and a pot for dipping the peaches in order to slip the skins.  A cutting board and your favourite knife.

You will also need a place to prepare the fruit, to fill the jars and a place to set the hot jars after they've been through the canner.

We can fruits inside or outside using our propane outdoor cooker.

Gather your canning jars, wide mouth quarts are the best in my opinion, lids and bands.  It's easiest to wash the quart jars in the dishwasher or just wash them in a sink of hot soapy water and then rinse and set upside down on a towel on the drainboard.  Wash the bands and set out to dry as well.

Once you have purchased your fruit (in this case, peaches), you will begin the process of canning.

Fill the canner(s) half full of water and place on the stove to begin heating the water to boiling.

Place the lids in a saucepan to simmer for a few minutes prior to actually using them.

Wash the peaches (or other fruit) and put them in a large colander or box.

Put a "dutch oven" filled half full of water on the stove to boil.

At this time I also make my light sugar syrup/water as described below.  I do this in an electric pot to save stove space.

 Dip peaches (4 or so at a time) in a pot of boiling water and then drop the peaches in a bowl of ice-water that will loosen the skins so that you can easily slip them off.

When the skins are slipped off of the peach then place each whole peach in another bowl of clean cold water until you have enough for a canner-load.  About 4-5 peaches per jar, depending on the size of the peach and how you cut and place them in the jar.  1/8 cuts yield more peaches in a jar.  Halves are prettier, but they take up more space and it seems few fit into each jar.

I make a light syrup mixture for canning our peaches.  The pot holds about 1.5 gallons of water and I add about a cup and a half of sugar to that and bring it to a boil and then leave it simmering while I sliced the peaches into 7 or 10 quart jars.  One of my canners hold 10 quart jars at a time and the other holds 7 quart jars.  For the light syrup, I use an electric pot so that I have the burners free for the canner and the pot of boiling water for dipping the peaches. After the peaches are sliced into the jars, then I pour the boiling light-syrup into each jar (about a cup of liquid for sliced and a cup and a half for peach halves). 

I run a knife down and around the inside of each jar to allow air bubbles to escape.

Then I take a clean wash-cloth and wipe the rim of each jar so that I make sure there are no bits of fruit and no syrup on the rim.  I can also check one more time for nicks or cracks in the rim.  
In another little pot I have the jar lids simmering until I am ready to use them on clean packed jars.  I slip the number of jar bands I'll need for the canner load onto my wrist and then slide then down onto each jar as I go. I have a bowl of clean bands ready on the table for the next "load" I'll do.
My canners, with the canning rack inside, are on the burners filled with simmering  water and I work quickly so that I am putting very hot jars into the simmering water---this pretty much ensures that I'll have no breakage of jars due to extreme temperature changes.  I use a "jar-lifter" to set the jars down into the canner.
After setting the lid centered on each jar and placing a band on each jar, I quickly tighten each band---tight for a woman, not tight for a man.  

 I continue the process until all seven jars (or ten---depending on the canner size) are done and then I quickly set each jar into the rack in the canner of simmering water.  Once the water comes to a boil, I "water-bath" can peaches for 20 minutes and then remove them to cool on a folded towel.   *Don't* press the center of the lid---it'll pull a vacuum and *pop* as it seals!

Soon your favourite sound in the world will be the *pop* of lids sealing as jars cool.

You see,
there's *nothing* to it!

*YOU* can do it, too!

Just jump right in and
try a new thing today!

Home Canning Supplies, Recipes & Techniques"
Home Canning

Home Canning Fact Sheet