How to can peaches.

Canning jars, watercolor, 1998 by Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini

~Updated July 2018, after completion of Master Food Preservation training program.

Peaches are one of my favorite canned foods, especially during those cold winter months when the snow is blowing against the window. Inside away from the cold you are just pulling warm shortcake out of the oven with an open can of summer’s peaches on the side. The best part is that canning peaches is relatively easy! Before you begin you may want to read the principles of home canning and also be sure that you have all the right supplies, you will mainly need clean chip free jars, lids and bands, a boiling-water canner, a funnel, a jar lifter, peaches, sugar and water and some bowls and pots, an optional ascorbic acid solution to preserve color and flavor.

This recipe is to make a raw pack vs. a hot pack. A hot pack requires you to cook the peaches in syrup, while a raw pack the syrup and peaches are added together in a jar. I find the latter of the two to be a little bit easier. For a raw pack you can make either a light or medium syrup. I use the Ball Blue Book of preserving recipe to make a light syrup, which is 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups water, which yields about 6 1/2 cups syrup. The syrup can be prepared before you begin processing your peaches, once it begins to boil you can lower it to a simmer until it is needed. If you prefer not to use sugar, water, apple juice or white grape juice can be substituted.

The first step is to buy your peaches, I usually buy a 1/2 bushel of the biggest peaches I can find at my local farm stand, which makes over a dozen pint size jars. There are many different varieties of peaches, I buy the largest because they are generally easier to peel. Before you begin processing your peaches make sure that they are ripe, otherwise you will have difficulty peeling the skins off. Once your peaches are ready, wash and drain them.

First step is to wash and drain your peaches.

Next you want to peel the skins off your peaches, this can be done by dipping your peaches into the a pot of boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately transfer your peaches into cold water, this will not only help slip the peel off but it will also prevent your fingers from getting burned. I usually have several bowls handy to transfer the peaches from the boiling water to the cold water and for the peels and pits.

Second boil some water and dip your peaches in for 30 to 60 seconds, immediately transfer them into cold water.

 

Boiling peaches.

Once you put the peaches in cold water the skins should slip right off. If the peaches are too ripe the skins will not come off as easily, which was unfortunately what happened to Sarah and I last weekend. We only canned half of the peaches, the other half I waited a few more days until they ripened, which helped! After you slip the skins off, cut the peach in half, pit and scrape the cavity to remove any fibrous flesh (I normally skip over that last part), I want all the yummy peach parts!

Third under cold water peel the skins of the peaches off, like Sarah is doing here. Pit and scrape the area before cutting in half and placing in your jar.

Attempting to peel the skins off, these peaches were not ripe enough.

The left overs.

After your peaches are halved you want to place them in a clean chip free (nick) and non-rocking jar. Jars processed less than 10 minutes in a boiling water canner need to be sterilized, these jars do not need to be, whoo! It is always best to have your jars ready before you begin cutting up the peaches. Pack the peaches with their cavity sides down, layering them into a hot jar. Fill the jar just enough to leave a 1/2 inch headspace from the top. *This is where, if desired, you want to treat your peaches to prevent darkening, which can be done with a commercial ascorbic acid or a mixture of ascorbic and citric acids.

Fourth place your halved peaches in a jar leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.

Once the jars are full, ladle the hot syrup (that you prepared earlier) over the peaches, be sure that you preserve your 1/2 inch headspace. After the jar are filled remove any air bubbles, which can be done with a nonmetallic spatula, a chopstick work well or canning companies sell special tools, like this bubble freer.

Are all the air bubble removed? If so now you can put the lids and bands (two-piece cap) on the jars. It is very important to clean the rims of the jars before you put on the two-piece caps, this can easily be done with a towel. Now your canning jars are ready to be put in the boiling-water canner!

Fifth place the two-piece cap on your jars after removing any air bubbles and residue for the rims.

Before you put your jars in the boiling-water canner be sure that the water is HOT, otherwise you may risk breaking your jars. After the jars are in the canner make sure that the water is 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars, if it isn’t add hot/boiling water. Once all the cans are inside, check your altitude location, if no more than 1000 feet process pint size jars in a Boiling Water Canner for 25 minutes or 30 minutes for quart size jars. If above 1000 feet process according to appropriate altitude directions.

Sixth place your canning jars in a boiling-water canner and process for 25 mins. for pints.

After the process time turn off the heat, remove the boiling water canner lid and leave the jars in the canner for an additional 5 minutes to prevent sealing failure.

Your jars can now be removed, using your jar lifter place the jars on a heat safe area (as you see above I use a towel on top of my counter). As you begin to take the jars out you will hear a popping noise, this is the magic of the two-piece cap sealing your peaches inside. This process is always a little bit of a waiting game, are they going to pop or aren’t they?!? After 12 to 24 hours and the jars are completely cool check the jars to determine if a vacuum seal has formed. Remove the screw bands, wash and dry the jars as needed, label with contents and date and store in a clean, cool, dark, dry area.

Seventh remove the canning jars after the allotted time and let them do their magic. After they have cooled check the lid to be sure it sealed, if so they can be labelled and stored away.

Now you are done and can enjoy your peaches anytime, even in the middle of the winter!!

**Troubleshooting- As you see above my fruit is floating in the jar, which means the fruit is lighter than the syrup. This was the result of unripe fruit, to prevent this from happening be sure your fruit is ripe and firm and pack your fruit as closely as possible without crushing. If that doesn’t work you may need to use a medium syrup and/or change to a hot pack (heating fruit before packing).

Peaches, yummy!

We would love to hear about your canning experiences, what you are canning, peach recipes, other tricks and steps you take during canning, or if you have any questions! Let us know at farmhousemag(at)gmail(dot)com or respond below.

Comments
7 Responses to “How to can peaches.”
  1. vintagejenta says:

    This was fun, Ashley! But yes, the underripe peaches were murder.

    • Irma Elaine says:

      I forgot to mention that it goes a lot faster with company, thank you for all your help Sarah! We will have to try our hand at something else, maybe canned corn or chicken stock!

  2. lisaandjohn1 says:

    lovely kitchen Ashley, I just finished canning peaches and stewed tomatoes. Thanks for your article. It was so helpful.

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