Preserving peaches is a great way to enjoy fresh peaches all year long. Peaches taste best when picked right off the tree, but rot quickly if not eaten or preserved. Canning peaches is an easy and efficient way to preserve your fruit without refrigeration or dehydrating.
Easily Water-Bath Can Your Peaches in Syrup
One thing I love about peaches is how juicy they are! Canning peaches lets you keep all those great juices so you can enjoy them when they aren’t in season. Peaches picked at the peak of ripeness are so much better than store bought. That’s why I love canning them, so I can enjoy that wonderful flavor anytime throughout the year.
Picking Your Peaches
Choosing which peaches to can is important. Peaches need to be at the peak of ripeness to get the best flavor. Below are a few things to consider when canning peaches.
- Peach Size – Large peaches are great in that they save you time in peeling and pitting. However, these work best for slices as peach halves may not fit into the jar. Small peaches work great for halving. It’s not always an option if you have a tree of your own though.
- Ripeness – The best time to can your peaches is when the peaches are firm, but ripe. If your peaches end up too ripe and squishy, they may fall apart in the canning process, leaving you with mush. If you can them too early, the flavor just isn’t going to be there.
- Freestone or Clingstone – This refers to the type of peach you are processing. Freestone peaches are peaches that separate easily from the pit. While clingstone peaches tend to attach to the pit, making cutting and process a bit more work.
- White Peaches – White peaches are not approved as safe for water-bath canning. White peaches do not contain as much sugar, putting their acidity at a much lower level. I would suggest freezing or dehydrating white peaches if you are looking to preserve them.
What You Need When Canning Peaches
- Ripe Delicious Peaches (about 18 lbs)
- Water (8 cups)
- Sugar (4 cups)
- Large pot for boiling water
- Large bowl for ice water
- Large bowl for Peach slices
- Canning Pot
- Canning Accessories
- Glass Canning jars (Quarts)
- Canning Lids and Rings
Blanch Your Peaches
The first step to canning peaches is preparing them for canning. To do this it’s important to remove the skin from the peaches.
Cut An X On Your Peaches
The first step is to cut and x on the bottom of your peaches. This will help the hot water infiltrate the peach and will make removing the skins from the peach easier.
Put the Peaches in Boiling Water
Place peaches in a large stock pot of boiling water for about 30-90 seconds. The hot water is what separates the peach skin from the peach itself.
Put Peaches in Ice Water
Once you have dipped your peaches in boiling water, place peaches into a large bowl of ice water. This will “shock” the peaches and release the skin from the meat of the peach. When peaches are cooled, remove the skin from each peach.
Slice Your Peaches
After the skin has been removed, slice your peaches and remove the pit. I like to slice my peaches into 4 slices. You can also slice them in half.
Making Your Syrup
I like to can my peaches in syrup. Almost all of my peaches are eaten in desserts during the off season, so the syrup is not an issue for me. I also find that peaches canned in syrup retain their color and flavor for longer. You don’t need to use syrup for canning peaches, water or juice will both work. However, they won’t be as flavorful.
To make your syrup, in a large pot, boil the 8 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar together. Now, at this point, you can either hot pack or raw pack your peaches.
Hot Packing Peaches
Hot packing your peaches is when you boil and cook your peaches before adding them to the jars for processing. This method will partially cook your peaches, removing any air from the slices. Peaches processed this way retain their color better and prevent the peaches from floating.
Raw Packing Peaches
Raw packed peaches are blanched peaches which are placed in the jars raw. The syrup is then ladeled over them. This method is a bit easier than hot packing, and the one I use more often because I’m lazy. However, raw packed peaches will float. This will cause them to brown a bit, especially the peaches floating on the top. They are still good, but don’t look as nice.
Canning Your Peaches
Fill your clean and prepared jars with peaches and syrup, leaving about an inch of head space at the top of the jar. In this recipe, I used quart jars. Using sliced peaches, I stuffed the jars until full and then ladle the syrup over the peaches (raw packing).
Wipe the rim of the jars off with a damp cloth, place the lids and rings onto the jars. Place jars into your large canning pot. Process your peaches for 20 minutes at sea level. Depending on where you live, be sure to adjust for altitude.
Altitude In Feet Increase Processing Time By:
1,001-3,000 feet – increase by 5 minutes
3,001-6,000 feet – increase by 10 minutes
6,001-8,000 feet – increase by 15 minutes
8,001-10,000 feet – increase by 20 minutes
Storage of Canned Peaches
After you have processed your peaches, place your jars on the counter and allow them to cool before moving. Be sure the lids have sealed. If you find that any of your lids did not seal, put those delicious peaches into the refrigerator and enjoy them within a week or so!
Canned peaches that are sealed properly will last between 12-18 months. After 18 months, they are still “good” they will begin to lose flavor, texture and color however. If you find that the lids are rusty, or the color of your peaches changes significantly, it’s likely your peaches have gone bad and need to be thrown out. I’ve never had peaches last longer that 12 months in my home anyway!
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